THE ROLE OF THE GAPS: At the age of 3!

THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2014

Part 4—The gaps come early and often: How do some American kids get a head start on their literacy?

On Monday, New York Times readers were given a delightful portrait of this process. In an essay on the op-ed page, Pamela Druckerman introduced us to her 5-year-old twins.

This mother’s boys are 5 years old. They share a World Cup obsession:
DRUCKERMAN (6/9/14): At dinner recently, one of my 5-year-old twins announced that he intended to learn Croatian.

This didn’t surprise me. Mealtimes at our house have become low-level colloquia on international affairs. Often I play resident expert as the children fire questions at me: What language do they speak in Korea? Is Barcelona a country? Does someone in our family live in Iran?

Honestly, my kids used to talk about superheroes. But two months ago, my husband bought them each a World Cup sticker album. Within a week, they were full-blown soccer fanatics. They now trot off to school wearing soccer shirts, beg to watch matches the moment they get home and fall asleep clutching their albums.
In fairness, these kids are already 5. They already go to school at some level. But in this delightful, tongue-in-cheek report, Druckerman describes the giant head start they’re getting on their literacy.

These kids get to fire off questions at dinner—and their questions get answered! And look at the language, the knowledge and concepts they’re gaining in the course of pursuing their new obsession.

They know there’s a place called Croatia—and that the people there speak “Croatian.” Complex language is flying around and entering 5-year-old heads:
DRUCKERMAN: [A]ctually watching small Americans (albeit Americans in Paris, who call the game “football”) hatch into fanatics has made me realize that a World Cup obsession is different from, say, being nuts about the Yankees. That’s because the World Cup doesn’t just give you a sport; it also gives you the world.

[...]

Of course, the World Cup view of the world isn’t entirely accurate...My kids are convinced that Uruguayans are mostly cheaters and even biters, because last year a Uruguayan playing for Liverpool was suspended for biting his opponent. They’re also fuzzy on some of the historical details we’ve discussed.

“What’s the name again of the team that invaded Mozambique?” one of the twins asked.

“Portugal,” I replied. “And it’s not a team, it’s a country.”

Anyway, the tournament isn’t just a history and geography lesson. It also gives kids a feeling of mastery. When one of the boys recently declared that “most people in Brazil are Brazilians,” it wasn’t just a profound statement of truth...It was also his way of organizing life into a coherent story.
Most people in Brazil are Brazilians! Elsewhere, you find Uruguayans.

A great deal of sophistication is being imparted in these discussions—and it isn’t just knowledge about history and geography, some of which may be bogus. These kids are gaining verbal sophistication too—for example, the knowledge that a particular type of word, “Brazilian,” derives from the word Brazil.

At 5, American children are just starting their official “school” years. But large gaps of various types already exist by the age of 5, or even at eighteen months (details tomorrow).

This fact has become better understood in recent years. In the current Education Week, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin refers to one of the best-known such gaps—the “30 million word gap:”
FRANKLIN (6/11/14): With the benefit of hindsight, if I were to assume the job of mayor today, I would use the bully pulpit to immerse myself in every public discussion about K-12 education...

I would focus on early learning. Research shows that children growing up in low-income households hear approximately 30 million fewer words than children growing up in middle-income and affluent families by the time they reach their 4th birthday. I would find a way to guarantee every 3- and 4-year-old child access to high-quality early education.

Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence, R.I., had the right idea when he launched Providence Talks to close this gap. The reality is that if we want our teenagers to graduate from high school ready for college or career, we have the responsibility to start them on the right course by preparing our earliest learners for kindergarten.
The so-called “30 million word gap” is in place by age 3. It has nothing to do with the work of our teachers, our schools or our school districts.

It has nothing to do with children’s exposure, or lack of exposure, to the Common Core “standards.” This very large gap is firmly in place before kids go to school.

Does it matter if children from low-income families “hear approximately 30 million fewer words than children growing up in middle-income and affluent families?” More specifically, does this early gap affect their future literacy?

We can’t really answer that question, in part because we live in a world which doesn’t really care a great deal about our “achievement gaps.”

When these large gaps get cited in the press, it’s usually in a narrow context and for a narrow purpose. The comment will usually be designed to drive some elite script about the way our test scores are stagnant and our schools are failing—and, therefore, about our need for “education reform.”

In fact, our most reliable test scores aren’t stagnant at all, but you’ll almost never see that reported in the press. In a similar vein, you’ll rarely read about the “30 million word gap” or about efforts, like Providence Talks, to close that early gap.

You won’t read much about this gap, or about those efforts, in the mainstream press corps. But this mammoth disinterest suffuses the “liberal” world too.

You won’t read about Providence Talks at Salon, or hear it discussed on MSNBC. Nor will you encounter discussions of that large word gap.

You won’t be taught to worry about the 3-year-olds who are on the short end of that gap. Such concerns barely exist in the “liberal world” as it currently operates.

The liberal world cares about gays who want to marry (that’s good!). But it doesn’t care about low-income children, whether they’re 3, 5 or 6. No fact could possibly be more clear. We liberals quit on low-income kids a very long time ago.

For today, let’s leave it here, with a bit of a study in contrasts. On the one hand, we have a pair of 5-year-olds who are bathed in a world of language, including some rather complex language. (That’s good!)

On the other hand, we have Mayor Franklin mentioning a very large gap which is in place by age 3 or age 4. She seems to think that this early gap affects the future prospects of the kids who are on its short end.

Tomorrow, we’ll explore her reasons for thinking that. Next week, we’ll return to the very large gaps in Tuscaloosa. We’ll look at the ways those gaps were recently spun within a world, which, if we might be so frank, doesn’t seem to give a flying falafel about the prospects of low-income kids.

What is the 30 million word gap? Why did Mayor Franklin cite it?

According to Nexis, the 30 million word gap has never been mentioned on any network news program, not even under its simpler description as “the word gap.” According to Nexis, it has never been mentioned on MSNBC.

According to Nexis, Providence Talks has been mentioned on major news program only twice, both times on NPR.

Rightly or wrongly, that early “word gap” has been considered a big deal since 1995. But within our mainstream press corps, our very large gaps exist for one reason—to drive preferred scripts from wealthy elites about the need for “reform.”

Within the current liberal world, those gaps barely exist at all. Kids on the short end of those gaps can go hang. We walked away long ago.

Tomorrow: Anne Frank in kindergarten

71 comments:

  1. You know, Bob. Lots of people have been discussing the gaps for years. And lots of people have proposed addressing them.

    But if you are going to dismiss every idea as "preferred scripts from wealthy elites about the need for 'reform'" then where is the basis for discussion?

    And please, Bob. An op-ed column from a mother bragging about her allegedly precocious twins is proof of exactly what? That not enough minority low-income mothers are talking to their kids about Croatia? And that the real problem is in the home and can never really be solved?

    Well, duh, Bob. Talk about walking away from black kids and not giving a damn. But it is certainly a pleasing tale to tell your sheep so that they, like you, can pretend to care, unlike those "wealthy elites" who are actually pumping money into research to find answers.

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    1. You say "well duh" but to acknowledge the problem is at home is now a radical statement. The best liberals ever do on this question is state "well duh" followed by a "but" as if that condition in the home is the hopeless reality forever. They're right as far as the current culture goes, but only because they contributed to creating the miserable condition and have various reasons for remaining silent or promoting it.

      Delete
    2. The op-ed piece isn't "proof" of anything. It's called an illustrative example. If you think it's inapt, tell us why you think that.

      And the "wealthy elites" pumping money into research? You mean like Bill Gates? He's not spending on research; he already has the answer.

      Anonymous @11:29A, another child left behind.

      Delete
    3. OK, I'll bite.

      The op-ed piece is "inapt" because it doesn't have a damned thing to do with the subject at all -- early childhood education. In fact, it is really a smarmy, elitist piece about the wonders of soccer used as an excuse for her to brag about her brilliantly wonderful and wonderfully brilliant twins.

      Once upon a time, the Old Bob used to rail that precious op-ed space was wasted on crap like this. Now he's using it to make a totally unrelated point.

      And FYI, in case you do take the initiative to read the piece Bob is citing, please note the dateline: PARIS.

      Please also note the following note at the end:

      Pamela Druckerman is the author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”

      Yep, that's why we have such gaps today in America. Not enough French parenting.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous @12:51P,

      I'll have to admit that the op-ed piece is nauseous. But then anything to do with children makes me nauseated. But at least I can get over the queasy feeling and understand the point: children who are immersed in a world of language before they reach school are poised to succeed once they get to school, and those who are not, are not.

      Is this true? I haven't got the faintest idea. Perhaps TDH will provide some evidence. But if it is true, then it's hardly some "totally unrelated point," and Bill Gates is looking for his keys where the light is good and not where he dropped them.

      Also note, that the thesis stands or falls independent of the op-ed's byline.

      Delete
    5. French parenting? Merde!

      Give me Polish parenting any day. They are miracle workers. Their kids passed both the US and France in reading in 2003 and haven't looked back since. The gap is growing.

      You won't read about those gains on leading pseudo-liberal bashing blogs. They don't care about Polish kids or their brutal history.

      KZ

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    6. So what is the "thesis" here, deadrat? That the children of expatriated parents who live in Paris receive more mental stimulation at an earlier age than poor black kids in America?

      Who wudda thunk it!

      Delete
    7. By the way, for those of you who think stimulating children at an early age is some new-fangled idea, google up a program called "Parents as Teachers."

      It started here in flyover country (Missouri) a few decades back. And yes, it has been written about in the "mainstream media" quite extensively, but that probably doesn't count since Bob apparently doesn't count anything except the NYT, Washington Post, Salon and MSNBC to be "mainstream media."

      Delete
    8. How about Finnish parenting, KZ?

      After all, we know that Finnishing schools produce such fine ladies and gentlemen.

      Delete
    9. Hey deadrat. Let's take a thesis test.

      Tell us briefly what the role of the gaps is at:

      Age 3!
      In fourth grade!
      In low-income high schools!

      And since you constantly diss others for their low level reading comprehension, tell us briefly what the heck Common Core is?

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    10. Oooo! Oooo! Oooo! I got the answers.

      Age 3: Because the liberal media is conspiring not to tell us about Providence Talks!

      Fourth grade: Because Bill Gates is an evil vampire trying to suck the lifeblood out of education by imposing national standards.

      Low-income high schools: Because D'Leisha Dent couldn't get into any college before she did.

      Delete
    11. Anon @ 1:24 We don't know. Are parents finnishy?
      Do you get a better finnish with the right polish?

      Could gaps be the result of the incredibly confusing language imposed on people by brutal colonials with a white supremacist penchant for conquest?

      None who want to know will take no for an answer but those with a role will tell you to roll with what comes randomly.

      Finnish parents? Finland? We're sure they are nice people from a nice country. We just haven't given them much thought. Can we talk? Or do you need to keep talking world soccer domination with your youngsters?

      KZ

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    12. But remember. We cannot compare Finland to the United States in anything. Except per capital health care costs. For a while anyway. Then please forget that we ever did.

      Delete
    13. Anon @ 1:49 we salute your adventurous spirit and wish to encourage your continued class participation. You have done an excellent job identifying the salient point of 3 posts written by BOB Somerby. But none of your answers tell us the role of gaps at any of the ages or locations specified.

      It was a trick question. You assumed you would find it here at TDH because the ages and places were in the titles of recent Somerby posts. Alas, he did not explain the role of gaps in any of those posts. For all we know they could have been written by any Sam Hill or random analyst.

      That mentioned, what has happened to those delightful analysts? Are they off in France learning Croation? Or have they been disappeared by the liberal media? Gack! Send out a search party. When we find them we may find the missing black children as well.

      KZ

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    14. I think the delightful analysts got caught in a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge during a legitimate traffic study.

      Either that, or they have staked out a federal courthouse in Virginia waiting for Gov. Ultrasound to be charged.

      Or maybe they are still combing through years of puff piece profiles of Rachel Maddow, looking for more evidence of her lies about her shooting ability, her late-night purchases of TV sets, or other scandals that unless exposed will destroy the very fabric of civilization.

      Delete
  2. OMB ( OTB, Meet Mr. Google )

    "You won’t read about Providence Talks at Salon,"

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yXSrPIlkvtQJ:www.salon.com/2014/02/09/high_tech_ri_project_tackles_low_income_word_gap/+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    KZ

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    1. And here's more media "not telling us" about Providence Talks:

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/03/23/providence-million-plan-shrink-word-gap/zwVX3JKvmsZChHVPimovbN/story.html

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/us/trying-to-close-a-knowledge-gap-word-by-word.html?_r=0

      Delete
    2. I also see that Providence Talks won a $5 million challenge grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

      When is Bob going to turn his guns on that particular "wealthy elite" who obviously knows nothing about education?

      Delete
    3. Anon @ 11:54 please see our comment below at 12:01

      Why the Sam Hill is BOB selling out? He is praising Providence Talks without telling us this is a set up funded by a major supporter of Michelle Rhee?

      Why didn't he tell us this program was propagandized in the New York Times by an in experienced young scribe related by marriage to a major Bloomberg crony?

      KZ

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    4. Anon @ 11:43 our apologies for not noting your mention of the article by Motoko Rich about Providence Talks in the New York Times, about which we posted moments later.

      On our planet we read from the bottom up.

      This does prompt a question. One which Common Core suggests you could answer in First Grade.

      If NPR has covered this two times, how many times more than BOB haver they covered this vital program?

      KZ

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    5. Sorry I didn't see your question before posting below at 12:18. But we in Bob's World also read from the bottom up.

      Delete
    6. Teaching the concept of Zero is part of the Common Core
      math curriculum. Which was adopted from the state level
      up, then back down again. With Big Scratch from billionaire dropout Bill Gates, of course.

      KZ

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    7. There you go! Raising the high jump bar to zero when we have kids who can't even clear it when its buried in the ground.

      Delete
    8. Common Core pre school standards include research skills.

      PK. A.1.Up

      Ability to locate high jump bar in sandbox.

      Delete
    9. And apparently after the embarrassment of handing Somerby a diploma, Harvard has added this to their research skills standard.

      H.A.1. Ass

      Ability to find it with both hands.

      Delete
    10. In a roomfull of mirrors?

      Delete
    11. "Why the Sam Hill is BOB selling out? He is praising Providence Talks without telling us this is a set up funded by a major supporter of Michelle Rhee? Why didn't he tell us this program was propagandized in the New York Times by an in experienced young scribe related by marriage to a major Bloomberg crony?"

      Silly, KZ. Because that was then and this is now, and Bob has an entirely new pleasing tale to tell his sheep.

      Delete
  3. Exactly. Many children have their learning abilities damaged BEFORE they set foot in any school, whether it be a private school, public school, or charter school. Americans are deluding themselves thinking it's the fault of the school system. Look in the mirror parents (or more often parent).

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    1. So what do we do about it, Alan? Identify these kids by age five whose parents didn't talk to them enough when they were babies and kick them to the curb?

      Delete
    2. 11:45, there was once a widespread stigma connected with out of wedlock births, government dependency, and absent fathers because it was thought (and is now known) these practices contribute to or cause misery and failure. Promotion of social standards that deter these behaviors would represent the single most effective change, but don't worry, no compassionate liberal is going to go there because while it would benefit minority children, it would not be compassionate to the liberal who would be deprived of his self righteousness.

      Delete
    3. 12:12 It is good to see you back and on point.

      l'll ask a question I put to you a few posts back which you seemed to ignore last time I checked.

      Does you father approve of your spending so much time making blog comments repeating a single point, or was he an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer who set the example you now follow?

      Delete
    4. 12:17, I'll ask.

      Delete
    5. It's always good to keep in touch with Dad. Father's day is coming up you know.

      That reminds me of a joke, but you've probably heard it.
      And repeated it.

      Delete
    6. What we do about it is teach people when the appropriate time to have children is. It is not when you are single, struggling in a minimum wage job etc. People can CHOOSE when to have children. That they don't deprives their children of a full and productive life.

      Delete
    7. Why not teach people how to talk to their children instead?

      Delete
    8. 2:58 there are many possible reasons no to teach people how to talk to their children.

      Some parents are like deadrat: "anything to do with children makes me nauseated." People in this condidtion have been known to talk to God instead of their children, take His advice, then drown the children in the bathtub.

      Some parents did not learn much when they were in school. Therefore the next effort to teach them something may fail due to their limited vocabulary. Or at least yield mixed results.

      Delete
    9. 2:38, that sounds racist and judgmental

      Delete
    10. I disagree 4:02. It sounds refreshingly pro-life and an optimitic reaffirmation of the need for more creative abstinence instruction.

      Delete
  4. OMB ( OTB, Reaquaint us with Who the Sam Hill is Motoko Rich)

    "In a similar vein, you’ll rarely read about the “30 million word gap” or about efforts, like Providence Talks, to close that early gap.

    You won’t read much about this gap, or about those efforts, in the mainstream press corps"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/us/trying-to-close-a-knowledge-gap-word-by-word.html

    You remember Motoko Rich, don't you BOB. Let's refresh reader's memory:

    "Michelle Rhee yes, the real facts no!
    MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013

    The Times continues to fawn: Who the Sam Hill is Motoko Rich? Until this very day, we had very little idea.

    Rich moved to the New York Times education beat in June of last year. ....We’re sure that Rich is a very nice person—and it seems she’s plenty smart. Luckily, the Times published a bit of a bio of Rich when she married Mark Topping in 2003.

    We assume he’s a nice person too. In our experience, most people are:....

    Just a question: Does that mean that Topping was a major Bloomberg official? There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.

    But still......

    Rich had no background in education. But she did have passion! And no poor fool can outwit Rich! Unless that poor fool is Michelle Rhee, whose latest pronouncements Rich describes in today’s New York Times.....

    Is someone perhaps outwitting Rich? Is someone outwitting her editors? Or are they simply fawning to Rhee, one of Mayor Bloomberg’s favorites?....

    Indeed, the Bloomberg gang—Rhee, Wendy Kopp and Joel Klein—are among the nation’s biggest dissemblers in any policy area.....

    Is someone perhaps outwitting Rich? Does the relative weight afforded these stories reflect her lack of experience? ....

    So it goes in the modern press world. The liberal world will say nothing, as always. We’re much too involved in our new Civil War to give a flying fig about the nation’s black kids!" BOB

    KZ




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    1. Just for grins, check out how often "Providence Talks" has been discussed in this very blog before today.

      Answer: Zero.

      In fact, the only other appearance of this program on TDH is included in a quote passage from Rich's March 26 report, in which Bob then goes on some sort of screed about pre-school education -- without looking at Providence Talks at all.

      Methinks the following happened: Bob was nexising "word gap" to find something new to say in this never-ending series upon series, came across Providence Talks, didn't know a damned thing about it, and wants to blame the media for his own lazy ass inability to research.

      Delete
    2. 12:18 Dudette (or Dude as the case may be)!

      It only took Somerby three weeks after D'Leisha Dent's acceptance of a scholaship at Miles appeared in his comment box for him to find out about it.

      He is quick as a fox*, old Bob is.

      * Not to be confused with FOX news, where Megyn Kelly did a nice interview with somebody once, and Bill O'Reilly did not get his job due to Irish connections.

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    3. Three weeks? The story first appeared of Dent's acceptance into Miles on April 27 -- before old Bob even started to write about how she couldn't get into college.

      Bob finally discovered it on June 4.

      Of course, that was some three weeks after his readers had already discovered it, posted it, and knew about it.

      Delete
    4. Cue Bobfans:

      "Oh yeah? Well, Dent getting into college had nothing to do with the point Bob was making about Dent not getting into college. And besides, Miles isn't a real college."

      Delete
    5. Unfair 12:40. Bobfans never said Miles wasn't a real college. They said it wasn't competitive and let's anyone in.

      They also said Somerby was just repeating what he had been told by the Atlantic. You left that out.

      Delete
    6. And right on cue!

      And blaming Bob's continuing and long-running error on the Atlantic because he was too damned lazy to look it up himself?

      Priceless!

      Oh, and just to correct the record, Bob repeatedly said that Dent couldn't get into ANY college, competitive or otherwise.

      I know the truth makes your head hurt, but don't harm your integrity as well by pretending Bob was really saying something else.

      Delete
    7. I feel compelled to point out that TDH is not a news blog. If you want the latest scoop you will have to read the Drudge Report or Fox News or whatever. Bob is discussing the issues he thinks are important and supporting his ideas with links he knows about. If you have something to add to the discussion, fine, but criticizing Bob is not a discussion.

      Delete
    8. Thanks for feeling compelled to add that bit of information to a discussion of the inaccuracy of information repeatedly supplied by TDH on a topic he himself selected.

      But you are right. No scoops here. It takes a shovel. What bulls leave behind can't be handled with scoops.

      Delete
    9. So only fawning agreement with whatever idiotic point that Somerby wants to make about early childhood education, using a smarmy op-ed about twin boys growing up in Paris to support "his ideas," is the only "discussion" permitted here?

      Thanks for the heads-up

      Delete
    10. I like how you trolls have so much fun setting up strawmen and arguing with yourselves. Crazy's kinda entertaining to watch.

      Delete
    11. "I like how you trolls . . ." ZZZZzzzzzz.

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    12. I feel so sorry for poor Bob.

      Delete
    13. So do I. He didn't used to be such a laughing stock.

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    14. Most of the comments are from KZ. I find it hard to understand why anyone is criticizing Somerby for trying to address an important problem in public education.

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    15. Who is criticizing Somerby for trying?

      Delete
    16. "Most of the comments are from KZ."

      7 out of 55 = "Most"

      Somebody could have used some standards in first grade math.

      Delete
    17. Let's make it Eight! We're flattered 2:59. We do note many comments are in response to two comments we initiated. And some of ours are in response to direct inquiries made in response to those two comments.

      But let us take this opportunity to evaluate this robust discussion in comparison to a "KZ- free" comment box on a post BOB did on a similar topic.

      We already quoted it once. It was where BOB trashed the media for paying attention to school reformer Michelle Rhee.
      We'll link it.

      http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2013/01/michelle-rhee-yes-real-world-no.html

      KZ

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    18. 7 out of 55, signed.

      Don't forget when when he talks to his sockpockets. And his stellar performance art as the lovely "siva."

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    19. deadrat don't give me credit for your creator's work you darn kidder.

      KZ

      PS: Noticed you skipped the thesis test. Good thing. Those test things measure standards which reveal gaps.

      Delete
    20. KZ,

      I actually made it through your comment at 4:17P! Although I don't know who you think my "creator" is. Could you keep all your comments to a dozen words or less? Thanks in advance.

      P.S. Except when you comment as the lovely "siva." The prolixity is part of the audience experience.

      Delete
  5. The liberal world cares about gays who want to marry (that’s good!). But it doesn’t care about low-income children, whether they’re 3, 5 or 6. No fact could possibly be more clear. We liberals quit on low-income kids a very long time ago.

    The liberal world will spend three weeks of prime time reporting that a southern white father teased his son for playing with dolls or saying he wants to marry a boy, but will spend the next three weeks reporting that a conservative politician suggested the 75% illegitimacy rate in the black community is child abuse and neglect, and black fathers abandoning their children and black mothers having multiple children with no means of support other than the government is child abuse and neglect. Those parents will never sit down at a dinner table with their kids much less conduct low level colloquia on international affairs or speak 30 million words. Someone identifying this behavior as neglectful and abusive allows the liberal world to pretend to be deeply offended on behalf of "minorities" and scold the judgers, who in turn are relentlessly judged by the liberal world for moral lapses far less consequential to children and other human beings.

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    1. I just did a google search for "southern white father teased his son for playing with dolls" and if found nothing.

      Perhaps I should subscribe to Nexis. Or maybe you could give us a link.

      Delete
  6. "Next week, we’ll return to the very large gaps in Tuscaloosa."

    What??? Very large gaps in Tuscaloosa? Where Bob once found pictures of white kids and black kids playing happily together?

    Say it ain't so!

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  7. An hour ago, I was listening to Diane Rhem. Her guests were Robert Reich and Douglas Holtz-Eaken. They both agreed that there was a gap in education in the US.
    Holtz-Eaken pointed out that NCLB left a wealth of statistics that rated school boards, school districts, principals, teachers, and state legislatures on quality.
    Both economists agreed there were gaps based on demographics. The poorer the students, the lower the scores. Rich kids scored higher than poor kids, and poorly funded schools and their staff scored lower as well.
    Reich pointed out that one said blames bad teachers (and their unions) and the other side blamed tight-fisted legislatures.
    Both agreed that poor kids suffered learning deficiencies before they even got to kindergarten, and unless they were exceptional individuals, they never caught up.
    My wife, who taught K-8 for 20 years, said both sides were right, but how were the schools going to hire better teachers if they can’t pay more?
    Neal deGrasse Tyson has said that satisfying the curiosity of small children is the best way to stimulate them to learn. It can have lifetime benefits.
    He went on to say that even if the kids live in a stimulating home environment, when they get to school, they are told to shut up and listen.

    Now I happen to believe that having books in the house, and seeing adults read books, and hearing them speak effectively, and having them let their kids satisfy their curiosity will give that child an advantage in learning over a lifetime.
    Several years ago, when Bob pointed out those children whose parents keep books in the house, and read to them, and are seen reading, do much better in school.
    So I asked Bob, “Well how do we, as concerned liberals, get those books into the homes, and the parents to read?”
    Bob didn’t answer, but the question remains.
    How do we?
    Even if the problem is caused by a breakdown of societal values, how do we get deadbeat dads back in the homes, hopefully with armloads of books?
    Quoting rates of divorce and out of wedlock childbearing, and blaming it all on Hollywood or liberals doesn’t solve anything. It only pushes the problem somewhere else, and to an area that is much harder to correct than preschool education.
    By the way, my mother read books her whole life. She would take us to the library and let us check out anything we wanted, and bought a bookcase full of classics and a set of encyclopedias for us.
    Also, we moved to France when I was five years old, and we lived on the economy, and we had French nannys and I had to learn a lot, and fast. So yes, I can say from experience that exposure to French parenting makes you smarter.


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    1. One way is to support public libraries and literacy programs, so adults can improve both their reading and parenting skills. San Bernardino just closed its public libraries due to financial problems. Did anyone object? Not that you'd notice. Poor people already use libraries as homeless shelters and for job hunting. Encouraging them to use them for parenting by including day care or preschool story hours along with parenting resources, as libraries already do for job-hunting might be helpful. Libraries used to be seen as essential to democracy. Now they seem like afterthoughts.

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    2. "Even if the problem is caused by a breakdown of societal values, how do we get deadbeat dads back in the homes, hopefully with armloads of books?
      Quoting rates of divorce and out of wedlock childbearing, and blaming it all on Hollywood or liberals doesn’t solve anything. It only pushes the problem somewhere else, and to an area that is much harder to correct than preschool education."

      You beg the question as to whether preschool education can correct negligent to abusive parents. It can't. You claim irresponsibility of absent fathers and single, government dependent mothers (neither of whom has any interest in reading to their kid) is harder to correct. No it isn't. Granted the easiest thing to do is to ignore those problems for any of the usual reasons liberals do, and pretend funding and programs will make up for it or make any meaningful difference to the problem at all.

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  8. Anon 4:10
    Yep.It will be much easier to prevent the lower classes from fornicating than it will be to get volunteers to read to underprivileged kids, (which is already happening.)
    Once again the self-disciplined strict father ideology trumps empiricism.
    The point is not to make parents toe the line, it is to give their disadvantaged kids a little help.
    Have you read a book to a kid lately? Ever?
    Gravymeister out.

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  9. How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr.Brave).

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