AVOIDING THE GAPS: Porter picks and chooses!

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2014

Part 1—Some of the gaps disappear: In last week’s Economic Scene column, the New York Times’ Eduardo Porter avoided some of the gaps.

We refer to the “achievement gaps” which help define the state of America’s public schools. At a glance, you might not see that Porter was avoiding some of those gaps.

As he started his column, Porter stressed a familiar old theme—the alleged failure of American schools as compared to those in the rest of the developed world. Then, he cited one of our highly significant gaps—“the persistent gulf in the test results between the rich and the poor:”
PORTER (5/21/14): Every few years, the United States faces the ritual humiliation of seeing how its educational standards trail those of most other industrial countries.

The most recent came in 2012, when tests performed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for 15-year-olds found the United States in 26th place among 34 countries in math, 17th place in reading and 21st place in science.

But perhaps even more disturbing, the report highlighted another trend; the persistent gulf in the test results between the rich and the poor.

According to calculations by the OECD, socioeconomic background explains 15 percent of the variation in the performance of American students, far more than in high-performing countries like Finland, Japan and Norway. Only one in 20 children coming from the most disadvantaged quarter of the population manages to excel at school and climb out of the rankings.
For what it’s worth, Norway has never been a “high-performing country” on the international tests to which Porter referred. Not being an education specialist, the Timesman may not have known that.

Porter was referring to test results from the 2012 PISA—the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment. The PISA is one of two major international testing programs in which most developed nations take part.

According to Porter, the United States faced its latest “ritual humiliation” when those latest PISA results were released. According to Porter, those results demonstrated a disturbing trend: “the persistent gulf in the test results between the rich and the poor” in this country.

In saying this, Porter highlighted one type of “achievement gap” even as he avoided another.

How big is the gap in test results between “the rich and the poor” in this country? Porter didn’t attempt to quantify that gap in his 1300-word column. (Before this month-long series is finished, we will examine that question.)

Porter didn’t quantify the gap between “the rich and the poor.” That said, it seems a bit strange to read that “socioeconomic background explains 15 percent of the variation in the performance of American students.”

Most Times readers wouldn’t be able to explain or paraphrase that technical statement. That said, American students record an unusually wide range of scores on the PISA, as compared to students in countries like Finland and Korea. Given the unusually large gaps between our highest- and lowest-scoring students, Porter’s statistic—15 percent of the variation explained!—sounds remarkably small.

At any rate, our nation’s achievement gaps are large—and Porter went on to paint a fascinating portrait of our gaps in action. We don’t think we’ve ever read a more striking account of the size of these gaps in the public school setting, or of the problems these “vast disparities” can create in our schools:
PORTER: Addressing the vast disparities between students’ abilities will not be easy. In some public schools, children who are entering the sixth grade with the measured proficiency of first graders are mixed in with children who perform well above the sixth-grade standard.

Schools struggle to teach this mix. Teachers are frustrated: Almost half leave the profession within five years.
In that remarkable portrait, Porter pictures American middle schools whose entering sixth-graders display a very wide range of achievement levels.

Some sixth-graders enter these schools with the measured proficiency of first graders, Porter says. Some of their classmates are working well above the sixth grade level!

How many American schools struggle to teach such a mix—struggle to address such vast gaps? Porter doesn’t attempt to answer that question. We’ll return to that remarkable passage before our series is through.

Porter pictures enormous achievement gaps in some of our public schools. He says a recent report from the OECD calls attention to the “vast disparities” which obtain between “the rich and the poor.”

As such, he highlights one type of gap in our American schools. But in the process, he avoids another type of achievement gap which defines our American schools—the achievement gap which still obtains between our white kids and our black kids.

That gap is smaller than it once was, a fact which is very good news. But even today, the gap between our black and white kids is often larger than the gap between our upper-income and our lower-income kids, if we look at our most reliable testing data.

Black kids have been performing much better in recent decades—but white kids have performed better too. As a result, the gaps which obtain between these groups remain extremely large.

For years, we’ve begged journalists to tell the public about the strong score gains being recorded by black kids. Assuming the reliability of the data, those score gains constitute very important good news.

The substantial score gains by our black students are extremely important—and they’re a well-kept secret. But the gaps which remain between white and black kids are very important too.

Porter stressed one type of gap, the gap between “the rich and the poor.” He never mentioned another gap, the gap between black kids and white kids.

Mainstream journalists often adopt this approach. They’re often joined by “liberal” advocates.

Almost surely, this practice is bad for black kids. Over the course of the next month, we’ll be explaining why.

Tomorrow—Part 2: Hannah-Jones downplays the gap

Extra credit—close reading assignment: At one point, Porter makes a fleeting, hidden reference to the large gaps which still obtain between our white kids and our black kids.

Questions:

Can you see where that hidden reference occurs? Why is the reference disguised?

76 comments:

  1. The biggest gap is not between races or between rich and poor. It's the gap between good students and bad students. Note that Porter implicitly addresses this gap when he mentions sixth grade children with the measured proficiency of first graders mixed in with children who perform well above the sixth-grade standard.

    ISTM that schools and teachers need to deal with this gap. And, they would need to deal with it, even if blacks and whites and rich and poor did equally well on average.

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    1. Part of "dealing with" that gap is figuring out what is causing it. Because the cause dictates the solution. That is why it matters whether the gap is caused by racial bias or by poverty or both. If by "deal with it" you are suggesting that teachers are not already teaching such children, you are wrong.

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    2. DAinCA is on to something. The biggest gap is not between races or between economic classes. It's the gap between high and low scorers.

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    3. I am suggesting that we focus on education, rather than income or ethnicity. Correlation isn't necessarily causation. The fact that poor people and certain ethnic groups do worse in school on average does NOT prove that their worse results are caused by poverty or racism. In fact, some immigrant groups do very well in school on average even though they're poor and/or minorities.

      I'd like to see more resources devoted to the best possible education. I'd like to see an article like Porter's that never mentions race or income, but instead spends 1300 words on an intelligent discussion of strengths and weaknesses of various educational approaches.

      There are sixth grade students who can't read. I don't care whether they're poor or rich, tall or short, or what their hair color is, or any other irrelevant characteristic. Schools need to identify such children and find a way to teach them to read.

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    4. Well my guess is the schools that got them to sixth grade in the first place pretty well both identified them (hence they know they read at the first grade level) and haven't found a way to teach them in five plus years yet.

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    5. deadrat are you going so far as to hypothesize there is a correlation between taking the PISA and getting a score?

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    6. David, if someone starts school several years behind peers in cognitive development, how quickly do you imagine they will "catch up" over the next five years? If they were capable of making rapid progress, they wouldn't be behind. If a student starts out 2 years behind in 1st grade and makes slower progress than other kids, how far behind will he or she be in 2nd grade? How much further behind will he or she falls by 3rd grade? Teachers can and do work with kids who are behind, but that doesn't magically increase their rate of progress. Even if it kept them from falling further behind, they would still be several years behind the more advantaged kids. Since learning is cumulative, the kids who enter school better able to take advantage of the curriculum make faster progress than those less prepared so they pull further ahead because they are learning at a faster rate. How do you remediate what didin't happen in the first 2 years of life, when the child at an older age is no longer in the critical period for learning vocabulary, for example? Then there are the motivational issues that arise for kids who are always behind, no matter how hard they work. How long would anyone keep trying under those circumstances?

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    7. I'd like to see an article ... that never mentions race or income

      Try the Republican platform.

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    8. Exactly, deadrat. It's easier to encourage fear and hatred than to effectively educate all students. So, it's good electoral strategy to tell blacks that their problem is white people. And, to tell the poor that their problem is the rich. This sort of hate-mongering doesn't make our students any smarter, but it does elect Democrats.

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    9. David in Cal, you left out telling straight couples that gays are a threat to their marriage.

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    10. It's easier to encourage fear and hatred

      So you did read the Republican platform.

      Good for you!

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    11. You wouldn't want to tell low-scoring students that their problem is the students scoring higher than them.

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  2. The gap wouldn't exist if Maddow and others cared about black kids.

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    1. This comment has the look of a racial pseudo-discussion.

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  3. An excellent beginning. I would have started with a definition of gaps, their discovery and history. Perhaps a rank ordering of the gaps would also be helpful, along with common old stories used to avoid gaps.

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    1. Your tone implies that you do not find this topic interesting. If that is the case, you are welcome to spend your time somewhere else.

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    2. We can hope and pray for that to happen, but experience says that Anonymous Troll 11:53 AM is in it for the long haul.

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    3. So starting with a compliment then a suggestion generates two hostile responses. Coupled with the overtly racist remarks made by some in the prologue to this series I can tell what a fine kettle of fish we will have among reader/commenters at TDH. No wonder Somerby doesn't read the rubes who write in.

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    4. The comment was snark, not sincere interest. It deserves hostile responses.

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    5. 2:02 I hope you are one of the two orginators of the hostility
      and not yet a third person full of hostility.

      Try writing something on topic instead of attacks on those who do. It will do wonders for your self esteem and blood pressure.

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    6. I get the snark @11:26A. Because the state of schooling for many black children is really kinda funny, it can be used in a hilarious way to criticize TDH for the approach he takes to his blogging topics. And it never gets old.

      But why is the comment @11:53A snarky? The definition of a gap seems obvious to me: a statistically significant difference between the scores of groups. But that's just me. Perhaps TDH will discuss what it means to say that the definition of the groups "explains the variance." Are there other gaps? Say between regions of the country or the size of schools. I don't understand why wondering about this is evidence of insincerity.

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    7. It is snarky because it is implying that Somerby is being obsessive and/or trivial in his focus on gaps and it exaggerates his questions by suggesting that he overanalyze and categorize the gaps in a way that has no relation to any importance, much as someone might classify pebbles or bottlecaps. The definition of a gap IS obvious. That one way you can tell the superficially sincere comment is mocking Somerby, not expressing a real interest in this topic. The way it is written maintains plausible deniability for the author who is no doubt laughing at those who respond seriously to it. This is like when someone pays a backhanded compliment, then says "Can't you take a compliment?" when someone calls them on it.

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    8. Liberals are now so deeply invested in racial identity politics that they simply can't say anything negative about any aspect of African American culture, including an "illegitimacy" birth rate 70%+!

      Until someone magically switches this back from a "household income" to a single single breadwinner economy that single parent single income, if that, just isn't going to cut it by and large. a poor plan, it should be discouraged.

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    9. It is snarky, deadrat, because it implies and suggests and maintains deniability and allows laughability. And because 3:27 put him/herself in charge of the snark detector. Its an old story.

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    10. deadrat, thanks for your comment @ 2:51. Your definition of a gap is fine, but is it the one TDH is using? He sometimes refers to statistical significance and sometimes does not. He sometimes bases his gap on race, sometimes on income. Sometimes when others base gaps on income, he attacks the definitions of income categories.
      Sometimes he will talk about a gap as important, other times he will label it an old story "liberals" or "pseudo-liberals use.

      I think if I were launching a month long discussion I would want it clear to my readers what my terms mean when I use them.

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    11. Liberals are now so deeply invested in racial identity politics that they simply can't say anything negative about any aspect of African American culture, including an "illegitimacy" birth rate 70%+!

      Moderator! I feel microaggressed upon!

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    12. If you do not understand the concept of a gap, I think the rest of this discussion may be beyond you and you might be better off at a different website for the next month or so.

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  4. The greater socio-economic variability in the United States does not result from a disproportional share of students from poor families,
    but rather from an above-average share of students from socio-economically advantaged backgrounds.

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    1. How can this be true when so much wealth is concentrated in so few hands?

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    2. It is in the nature of measuing SES. Wealth is but one variable. US test scores are lower in comparison to international results than the SES status of parents.

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  5. Perhaps the reference is disguised because the comparatively close relationship between the learning outcomes of students in the United States and socio-economic background is not simply explained by a more socioeconomically heterogeneous student population or society but mainly because socio-economic disadvantage translates more directly into poor educational performance in the United States than is the case in many other countries.

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    1. You seem to be saying that PISA doesn't measure race so if
      Porter is writing a column based on OCED reports and PISA
      results he might not mention the race gap because they don't measure it, much less mention it.

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    2. I think the reference is disguised because the author does not want to talk about race and how it affects the difficulties the most economically disadvantaged students encounter in climbing out of their condition, academically speaking. That 1/20 proportion may be because of prevailing anti-intellectual attitudes in urban subcultures coupled with low-literacy backgrounds in the home and may make it very difficult for some kids to aspire to higher academic goals, even if they have the ability and a school trying to help them. That is a can of worms no one wants to open. I think that is because of our ongoing difficulty talking about racial issues without name-calling.

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    3. I found the sentence to which you refer a rather difficult one to follow. I'll repeat it:

      "Only one in 20 children coming from the most disadvantaged quarter of the population manages to excel at school and climb out of the rankings."

      The "excel at school" line was unfortunately reminiscent of a line used about D'Leisha Dent. I am not of the opinion that how one fares on a single exam determines whether you "excel at school." On the other hand I have no opinion on what it means "to climb out of the rankings" because I haven't the foggiest idea what Porter means, where the climb begins, and how one knows when one is out.

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    4. 2:05 what you say is true but it was not what I was trying to say. It is a good point though and one which Somerby should ponder.

      2:07 may be correct but how do you or I ever know what an author does or does not want to talk about when they are silent on a matter. All we can do is guess. If I were to suggest you use the term "urban-subcultures" to avoid saying "blacks" it would be just a guess on my part.

      2:19 keep in mind that the way the sentence is worded you have to both excel in school and climb out of the rankings to be one of the hard working/privileged 5%.

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    5. What would be your guess about the Republican plan to cut school lunch programs and restrict to "rural areas" future funding requests for those programs?

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    6. 2:36 -- the term black is not right because African immigrants are doing better academically than Asian American or European American demographic groups. Like many other immigrant groups, they stress the importance of doing well in school and help their kids succeed, further they do not come from low literacy backgrounds themselves so they are able to help their kids do well. They are black. By urban subculture, I was referring to low SES people (often but not always Hispanic or African American) who do not value education and who are themselves from low literacy backgrounds.

      You climb out of the bottom rankings by excelling at school. Higher income is closely tied to education these days, increasingly so as jobs that can be done with a high school education disappear.

      I think you can tell what an author doesn't want to write about by what he or she doesn't include. If they wanted to talk about it, they would have done so.

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    7. I would guess, deadrat, that severe hunger pangs motivate sufficient boot strap pulling that one could climb at least close to the rankings if not out of them.

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    8. Thanks for the clarification @ 3:11.

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    9. Anonymous @ 3:11, I have hear the comment about the performance of African immigrants around here before, perhaps from you. Can you link to a source for that?

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    10. That 1/20 proportion may be because of prevailing anti-intellectual attitudes in urban subcultures coupled with low-literacy backgrounds in the home and may make it very difficult for some kids to aspire to higher academic goals

      Racist!

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    11. 5:50 -- I got it from Eugene Robinson's book "Disintegration, the Splintering of Black America (2010), which I have linked to here before.

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    12. What percentage of children would go hungry, if it were not for the school lunch program? Given that food stamps are available, and an adequate lunch might be a PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit, my guess is that the school lunch program saves only a small number of children from hunger pangs.

      If money were infinite, I would have no problem with the school lunch program. However, I think it would do more good to discontinue the school lunch program and use the money saved to fund a voucher program that would allow a student in bad school situation to have a choice of where s/he goes to school. (Not that I think there's any realistic chance of ending the school lunch program.)

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    13. Here's the point at which I might tell DAinCA to check his privilege, but given this month's topic, I'll tell him to check the gap between his ears.

      my guess is that ...

      Given your previous success at guessing, how about you actually find out how good that guess is this time around?

      But what a great idea: let's end the school lunch program and fund school vouchers. If there's no better school close by, then the kids can eat the vouchers. Or as Rush suggests, they can go dumpster diving.

      Or they can stop by Whole Foods and get a piece of cake.

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    14. Because it's so cheap and easy for parents to provide an adequate lunch, I maintain that few children would go hungry in the absence of the federal school lunch program. Your humorous response assumes that children would be hungry (hence the need to eat vouchers or garbage.) That's an example of petitio principii or begging the question -- the fallacy of assuming the conclusion you are trying to prove.

      Many children are trapped in schools that aren't working for them. I don't find that situation funny. When my daughter was in that situation, we had the money to provide an alternative. She had plenty of difficulties, anyhow. I shudder to think of the impact if she'd been forced to attend that particular school for three years.

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    15. You mean it's cheap and easy for you. You try living in a food desert in an inner city neighborhood; you try living just above the food stamp income limit and having to decide whether to spend your money on groceries, medicine, or rent; you try deciding whether to risk being fired for taking a day off to travel to some bureaucrat's office to get your eligibility straightened out. Then you can lecture me on what you "maintain."

      If you think my response was the least bit humorous, then you're even more clueless that I thought. I'm not assuming anything; that's your MO. I've gone and looked up the data.

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    16. Yes, it's cheap and easy to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and put it in a bag with a piece of fruit.

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    17. Peanut butter = $2.50, bread $3.50, jelly $2.99, fruit. $.59 (apple) Total = $9.58

      Yes you can use the rest of the bread and P&J for the rest of the week but that is the initial outlay and do you think kids want to eat the same thing every day? Not particularly cheap.

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    18. Oops, forgot to figure in the baggy and paper sack. Kids usually want a trendy lunch pail though. A plain sack can be embarrassing.

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    19. AnonymousMay 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM -- I think those supplies would make around 10 lunches. That's only $1.50 per day. But it's even cheaper than that. If the family is poor, they could use food stamps to buy these foods.

      In fact, the Food Stamp program ought to have made the School Lunch Program unnecessary, but government programs seldom die.

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    20. Only $1.50 per day x the number of people in the family = $6.00 (two parents, two kids) x 30 = $180.00. Calculate what a minimum wage job pays and deduct the 50% in rent and reasonable costs for gas and see how much is left, keeping in mind that this is just for lunch and there is also breakfast and dinner in each day. Not so easy then, is it?

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    21. David, you should read Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickle and Dimed and see how well she was able to support just herself on minimum wage, in four different types of jobs. She went and spent a month in each and she does the math. Things cost more now than when she wrote her book, but you'll get the idea.

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    22. I don't need Ehrenreich, I lived it. I spent my early years in a small apartment in the Bronx.

      I spent 2 years as a graduate student supporting a wife and child on $200/month. Adjusting for inflation, that's $1420 to support the three of us. We didn't have health insurance, so we paid for every pediatrician visit. This figure is below the poverty threshold, which was $1,522 in 2012.

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    23. Now imagine doing it year in and year out with no vacations, no christmas presents from relatives, no extra money available when a car breaks down, a child breaks an arm, the refrigerator needs repair, or your wallet is stolen. You probably lived in subsidized housing, or that $1420 wouldn't have covered your rent (typically $800 for a one-bedroom in most cities). If you didn't have clothing from your previous prosperous life, furniture, dishes, linens, a TV, how would you have bought them?

      Your experience should be giving you more empathy, not an impatience with the difficulties poor people suffer. Your brief holiday on a limited income didn't come with the full measure of stress because you no doubt had the confidence you could call on parents or other family/friends with higher incomes if you really needed some extra cash. Anything non-essential could be deferred until after graduation because you would have the expectation of a future high income. Poor people don't have that. They have the feeling of sinking deeper below subsistence every time there is an unexpected expense. Your child may not have been of the age where they ask for the same things other kids have -- designer jeans, video games, whatever kids value these days. That puts a special kind of pressure on parents who cannot afford such items and must repeatedly say no, because kids don't understand why their family has so little money. Even if other kids in a neighborhood are poor, TV shows kids what they are missing and generates pressures on parents that even middle class parents have trouble resisting.

      If you know this from your own experience, why are you so judgmental?

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  6. Deadrat, the people in rural areas vote Republican and the people in urban areas do not. I think they are rewarding the people who tend to vote for them.

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    1. Oh, well, then that's OK then.

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    2. No, but it is politics as usual.

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  7. OMB (Seeming Unquantified but Small with BOB)

    "Porter didn’t quantify the gap between “the rich and the poor.” That said, it seems a bit strange to read that “socioeconomic background explains 15 percent of the variation in the performance of American students.”

    Most Times readers wouldn’t be able to explain or paraphrase that technical statement. That said, American students record an unusually wide range of scores on the PISA, as compared to students in countries like Finland and Korea. Given the unusually large gaps between our highest- and lowest-scoring students, Porter’s statistic—15 percent of the variation explained!—sounds remarkably small." OTB

    Porter didn't quantify the gap. BOB didn't quantify the range.

    If most Times readers cannot explain or paraphrase that technical statement, how many BOBfans can tell us how strange a "bit" is, how wide "unusually" is, how large "unusually" is, and how small "remarkably is?"

    KZ

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  8. Individualized education would be the only way to narrow the gap. A one-to-one teacher student ratio. Surely we can afford that as well as psychologists and counselors to correct any bad behaviors of each student.

    Once upon a time this attention was expected to be provided by "parents," usually one earner and another with enough time to devote to the child at home. But one mustn't utter such heresies in this brave new world. Never mind that the poor immigrants who excel and the racial gap are most adequately explained by one factor. Parents.

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    1. Parents have never provided this kind of attention. Once upon a time, working class kids left home when they were 14-16 and could get jobs doing manual labor. Working class parents stopped supporting their kids at high school graduation, expecting the girls to marry and the boys to work (and pay rent if they remained at home). Only financially well off kids went to college, the girls to get an MRS degree and the boys to get a gentleman's C and then go into daddy's business. Poor immigrants didn't go to college or high school. Read Jack London's book Martin Eden for an idea of what it was like to be intelligent and motivated but working class. The 50's idea of the stay-at-home mom and the working father depicted on TV never existed demographically.

      Poor immigrants who excel have an entire family supporting the oldest child in college (typically studying a lucrative profession that he or she may have little interest in) so that he or she can get a good job and put the younger children through school. Marriages and jobs are arranged. Kids typically work in a family business or contribute earnings to the family. They succeed because they are based on a family model that subjugates individual needs to shared welfare of the family as a unit -- not because of the parents. If a parent is missing, the oldest children step into the gap. Extended families are the secret to their success. I think you should be complaining that grandparents are no longer helping their grown children and aunts and uncles have selfishly chosen to start their own families.

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    2. 6:00 pm

      Read this: www.prb.org/source/acfac41.pdf

      This explains why families have changed and why the two-parent family is not the ideal or most prevalent arrangement any more. You need to understand the economic changes that have occurred so you can see this as a logistical issue instead of a moral one. People are doing what they need to survive. The time period you think was ideal was an anomaly of the boom after the end of WWII. Those conditions do not exist today. People change to adjust to their circumstances.

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    3. Key point from the linked study:

      A man with a high school education in the 1950s and 1960s
      could secure a job that paid enough to allow him to purchase a house, support a family, and join the
      swelling ranks of the middle class.

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    4. 50's? The two parent (at least one working), planned family works better than any other economically, and emotional benefits of children raised with both caring parents in the home reduce all manner of disasters including failure in education. No one who was privileged to have such an upbringing (in the 50s, 60's 70's 80's 90's 00's 10's or prior) ever wanted another or discounts its role in every measure of achievement. Pushback against this idea and cheering on the destruction of the foundations of human civilization? Astoundingly corrupt, and tragic. No hope for this country or any other as far gone.

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    5. You didn't read the linked study. It explains that the two-parent family you describe existed right after WWII during the economic boom, but changed during the 70 and beyond, again due to fluctuating economic conditions that made the ability to support a family uncertain. Your assumption that this family structure is a given across time and place is mistaken. Civilizations have mostly consisted of larger family groups, extended families, not two-parent homes with children. No hope for you, if you refuse to read anything but insist on stating your views, broken-record style, without engaging anything people say to you.

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    6. The study does nothing to justify that 75% of blacks and 40% of whites now produce children out of wedlock they had not planned or could not support. You argue that it became harder to support a family. All the more reason not to neglectfully produce children you intend to neglect and support through government dependence. The fact that larger extended family groups existed before the age of mobility does nothing to disprove the idea that a societal standard under which children should not be produced by two people unless they plan to live with the child, are able to support the child financially, and dedicate themselves to the child's well being and education. Other arraignments are proven failures that account for the educational gap discussed here as well as other gaps in crime, drug addiction, lack of education, lack of employment. Along with the abandonment of other ethics such as work ethic, white liberal destruction of the ethic that two parents together will be expected to raise the children they produce will continue to finish off this society.

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    7. "The study does nothing to justify that 75% of blacks and 40% of whites now produce children out of wedlock they had not planned or could not support."

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    8. I repeated your statistic 12:22 because you show nothing to justify it.

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    9. Here are figures from the National Vital Statistics Report, HHS, 2012: "Among non-Hispanic blacks, the figure is highest, at 72.2 percent; for American Indians/Alaska Natives, it’s 66.9 percent; 53.5 percent for Hispanics; 29.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites; and a mere 17.1 percent for Asians/Pacific Islanders."

      Out of wedlock does not mean the chidlren are not being supported, nor does it mean there are not two parents involved, nor does it mean the birth was unplanned or unwanted. It means the parents are not married. Those stats say nothing about whether children are being neglected or whether the government is supporting them, or whether the parents live together or not, or how much money the household has. They refer only to the marital status of the parents at the time the child was born.

      The biggest factor affecting crime rates these days is literacy. Close to 25% are totally illiterate, more than 60% are functionally illiterate. Among juvenile offenders it is 85%. Literacy doesn't come from having two parents. It comes from having one parent who can and does read to you and speak to you during the first two years of life. It doesn't matter if it is granny or daddy who does the reading. What matters is how many words a child hears during interactions with live people each day and TV/videos don't count.

      You need to stop chiding people about their marital status and start supporting your local library. Where I live, San Bernardino is closing its libraries because the city is bankrupt and books are apparently a low priority (compared to funding cops). That's because people like you are focused on the wrong aspects of behavior.

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    10. The avoidance of logic on these topics on the part of those who want to protect the right of parents to produce and not support their own offspring is mind boggling. Children fare better with two married and caring parents in their household committed to their economic, social and educational welfare. Every child would prefer this arrangement to the typical alternatives. This idea deeply offends progressive left who want to preserve their right to "find themselves" even if the children they produce are the ones who bear the consequence. Corrupt and tragic.

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    11. You are offended by "chiding" about parents' marital status and think it should be replaced by chiding about library funding. The best remedy for closing the educational gaps is for people like you to start chiding about marriage of parents who intend to raise children, a standard and practice that somehow deeply offends you. White liberal philosophy would be amusing if it weren't so destructive to human beings.

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  9. Porter wrote 1300 words and did not mention the black-white gap.
    Somerby wrote almost 1100 and did not mention the Hispanic-non Hispanic gap.

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