Supplemental: Professor Robin is very upset!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015

A note on our changing demographics:
Friend, we have something to tell you today:

“Education is the quintessential American hustle. Schoolmen and con men have one thing in common: They both believe they can talk their way out of anything.”

So speaks Professor Robin, writing in Salon.


As a professor, the gentleman would seem to be a bit of a “schoolman” himself. This doesn’t stop him from letting us know that “schoolmen,” whoever they may be, are running a major con.

We’re not quite sure what Professor Robin is trying to say in his piece. That’s often the case when we read the work of Salon’s top professors.

In this instance, the professor starts by mocking his friends for their hopeful Facebook posts on Martin Luther King Day. He closes by letting us know that education is a hustle.

Along the way, he offers some ridiculous thoughts about what private schools could and should do with their students. He complains about the heavily white school his first-grade daughter attends without saying why she attends the oppressor's school, or why he lives where he lives.

Whatever! Professor Robin is one of the progressive professors of the moment. We found one point in his generally puzzling piece which we thought was worth discussing a bit.

As he angrily stumbles along, Professor Robin complains about public school “resegregation.” This is an interesting, important topic. We’re not sure that Professor Robin explains it real well in this passage:
PROFESSOR ROBIN (3/8/15): In school, white children are taught to be conscious of race and racism in a way I never was when I was as a kid in the 1970s. Yet they go to schools that are in some respects more segregated now than they were in the 1970s. In 1972, under Richard Nixon, 36 percent of black students in the South attended white-majority schools. By 2011, under Barack Obama, that number had plummeted to 23 percent. In every region of the country, a higher percentage of black students go to nearly all-minority schools than was the case in 1988. The same is true of Latino students in the South, the West and the Midwest.

Microsoft Word recognizes the word “desegregate.” It doesn’t recognize “resegregate.”
Etcetera, and so forth and so on. A few paragraphs later, the professor suggests that private schools could or should “organize workshops to teach students how to lead a mass movement that would divest private schools of federal tax benefits.”

After that, the fiery sophomores would almost surely take control of the world!

Meanwhile, why do fewer black kids in the South attend white-majority schools? We’re fairly sure there are several reasons. But just for starters, consider the change in student demographics in Florida, the most populous state in the South.

Why don’t more black kids in Florida attend white-majority schools? Could it be because Florida’s public school students (fourth grade) were only 40 percent white as of 2011?

(That was down from 63 percent in 1992. See Table A-12 on page 83 of this NAEP report.)

Florida’s fourth-grade students were 40 percent white in 2011. If you magically spread those kids around evenly, no one would go to white-majority schools in this large southern state!

This isn’t true in other southern states. But consider the national change since 1968, when Richard Nixon first won election:

In 1968, the national public school population was 80 percent white. By 2011, the number was right at 50 percent.

(Click here for one of Robin’s own links. Scroll down to Figure 1.)

For our money, that change is producing a glorious new American school population. That said, this almost surely helps explain why fewer black kids attend white-majority schools.

Professor Robin was angry and mad as he screeded his way through this puzzling piece. That’s how professors frequently roll at the new and frequently silly Salon. We thought you might enjoy a shot at a couple of basic facts.

Do schoolmen and con men have one thing in common? That’s what one of our own progressive professors has memorably said!

20 comments:

  1. I predict Professor Robin will attract less interest than even Professor Greer.

    That said, let us examine the quintessential art of Bob Somerby, blogger.

    "We’re not quite sure what Professor Robin is trying to say in his piece."

    What to do then? He writes a whole post as if he does, distorting and disappearing as he goes along. And, alas!, missing what the Professor had to say.

    Note to Blogger Somerby: The Professor seems to share your tribal disgust with plutocrats.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is an author's job to communicate.

    It is a troll's job to attack the blogger. Notice how this troll does nothing to clarify any misunderstanding or address the substance of the post -- that assessing statistical imbalance is difficult under changing demographics.

    I don't think screed is a verb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "troll" was right in his first sentence. It took you three hours to respond with the second comment and another two hours before the third came in.

      You state the substance of this post is assessing statistical imbalance. I disagree.

      I'd say, with 13 uses, "Professor", and the denigration of those who hold that title is the real substance and purpose, especially in the context of the last few posts.

      Delete
    2. You don't figure out what an essay is about by counting frequencies of word use.

      Delete
    3. Alas, since the post bears only a tangential relationship to the article it purports to criticize, contains an admission that the post author doesn't understand the article, misrepresents what the author says, then focuses repeatedly on the author's profession to the point of even failing to mention his full name, well......

      That said, there is the fact this is called a Supplemental and appears in the midst of a series entitled "The Caliber of Our Own Professors."

      In our view, that is a clue. Perhaps you have spent much of your life without any. (Clueless, BTW, is another overused phrase by Blogger Somerby).

      Delete
  3. Yeah, it was a strange piece, and he's usually good. For one, I couldn't figure out how his school became more White than 30 years ago. And unless it's a one-percenter school, what's that got to do with one-percent intent?

    Bigger problem is the "de-whiting" of public schools due to wealthier parents moving to private. But that kind of elitist problem is entirely different.

    Agreed-- the article was confused and confusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. C.10:31 "Yeah, it was a strange piece, and he's usually good."

      Well critic, you apparently aren't good, perhaps because your next sentence indicates you can't read or didn't read the piece.

      C.10:31 "For one, I couldn't figure out how his school became more White than 30 years ago."

      Maybe you are the only one. You couldn't figure it out because it didn't. Nor did he say it had. Here is his sentence on that topic:

      C.Robin "Meanwhile, her school has a combined black and Latino population of 15 percent, down from nearly 30 percent just seven years ago."

      C10:31 " And unless it's a one-percenter school, what's that got to do with one-percent intent?"

      And if you could read, you'd know the article you purport to have read, much less the sentence you got totally wrong earlier, had nothing to with "one-percent intent." You apparently haven't even been following Somerby's many accurate diatribes on headlines in Salon being click bait. The term one-percent is never used.

      C.10:31: "that kind of elitist problem is entirely different."

      Your final two paragraphs are the biggest clue you never bothered to read anything more than Somerby's critque. Much of Robin's article is devoted to "that kind of elitist problem" in private schools, but Somerby chose to either disappear that discussion or distort it through derision.

      Somerby admits he didn't understand the article. You simply chose to play his pet parrot.

      Delete
  4. "He complains about the heavily white school his first-grade daughter attends without saying why she attends the oppressor's school, or why he lives where he lives." Bob Somerby

    "In her public school this year, my first-grade daughter learned that Daisy Bates helped integrate the Little Rock schools. She knows that Ella Baker, someone I’d never heard of till I went to college, was part of the civil rights movement. Meanwhile, her school has a combined black and Latino population of 15 percent, down from nearly 30 percent just seven years ago."

    That is some complaint. About the oppressors school. Thank heavens we have Somerby, a national treasure, to point out the glaring omission and demand the sorely needed explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So far the troll has discussed none of the demographics statistics cited by Somerby. Why? Because that is a hot potato. Saying that Bob sucks is easier (a cold potato pleasant to the touch). Somerby owns the multi-nickname troll once again. Pass that hot potato.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Professor Perez. None of the demographic statistics by Professor Robin are disputed by Somerby. Why should anyone discuss Blogger Bob's statistics since they only serve to reinforce the point made by Professor Robin, a point Blogger Bob admits he doesn't understand?

      Delete
  6. Let me know when all things normal back.

    ReplyDelete
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