BREAKING: The "segregation" of public schools!

THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018

The shape of liberal discourse:
Are America's public schools "resegregating?" Are increasing numbers of our kids attending "segregated schools?"

These have become familiar talking-points in liberal circles. These claims have always struck us as annoying, unhelpful, unwise.

Here's why:

Yesterday, we perused the start of Will Stancil's new piece for The Atlantic. It appears beneath these headlines:
School Segregation Is Not a Myth
Skeptics claim that concerns over racially divided schools are false alarms—but they’re missing the full picture.
We're inclined to be one of those "skeptics!" Let us tell you what we found when we examined the start of Stancil's report.

First of all, who is Will Stancil? He's eleven years out of Wake Forest (class of 2007). Since then, he's acquired a master’s degree in modern history from Queens University Belfast, and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Currently, he's a research fellow at UM's Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. His work "focuses on civil rights law and policy in housing and education, with particular emphasis on affordable housing and charter schools."

Will Stancil doesn't fool around—except perhaps when it comes to claims about "segregation." Here's the early passage from his report in which he defines the heavily fraught historical term:
STANCIL (3/14/18): According to my analysis of data from the National Center on Education Statistics, the number of segregated schools (defined in this analysis as those schools where less than 40 percent of students are white), has approximately doubled between 1996 and 2016. In that same span, the percentage of children of color attending such a school rose from 59 to 66 percent. For black students, the percentage in segregated schools rose even faster, from 59 to 71 percent.
Already, we'd have to say "Yikes." According to Stancil, a school is "segregated" if fewer than 40 percent of its students are white. That strikes us as a remarkable definition, considering the historical meaning of the term.

Historically, when black kids attended a "segregated school," that school would have zero percent white students. It would have no white students at all. No white kids need apply!

"Segregated schools" were either all-white or all-black. There was no in-between at all. This regime was mandated by law. The law enforced complete total separation on the basis of "race."

According to Stancil, a black kid today is attending a "segregated school" if as many as 39 percent of its students are white. This definition strikes us as an insult to the memory of the people who fought and died to eliminate "segregated schools" from the land.

It also strikes us as an insult to human intelligence. Here's why:

The defintion seems especially strange if you consider our current public school demographics. Below, you see the state of play as described by the National Center for Education Statistics:
NCES FAST FACTS: Of the projected 50.7 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2017, White students will account for some 24.4 million. The remaining 26.3 million will be composed of 8.0 million Black students, 13.6 million Hispanic students, 2.8 million Asian/Pacific Islander students, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.5 million students of Two or more races.
Let us do the math! Based on those numbers, the student population, nationwide, is now 48.1 percent white. But in the world Stancil creates, a school which is 39 percent white is tagged with the ugliest, most inflammatory term our brutal history provides us.

Does this definition make any sense? We're inclined to say it makes no sense, but it illustrates and explains many things.

First, this kind of inflammatory statistical toying is all too common within the modern liberal world. We liberals are constantly playing these games to make it seem like 1) it's still 1955 out there, and 2) we modern liberals are bravely confronting Bull Connor all over again.

Except it isn't 1955, and we aren't confronting Bull Connor. Beyond that, we liberals aren't being brave; we're being silly/offensive.

Earth to liberal academics and liberals of all descriptions:

This kind of thing helps explain why so many people hate us. They hate our seamy moral preening. They hate the way we insult the public's intelligence.

The "conservative" world is full of clowns and has been for some time. Our liberal world is catching up. Each tribal group tends to have a hard time spotting its own team's offenses.

In closing, let's review:

Nationwide, our public schools are now 48.1 percent white. A school which is 39 percent white is, therefore, only slightly "unbalanced."

Such a school isn't "segregated" in any useful or meaningful sense of the term. It's an insult to our martyrs to make this childish claim.

Luckily, Virginia, no—it isn't 1955! Unlike our martyrs from that era, our current crop of liberal academics, pundits and activists don't always show spectacularly good judgment.

Other people do notice these things. We'd have to say this sort of piddle is part of the way Trump got there.

20 comments:

  1. Bob, dear, look at it this way: you liberals need to excite somehow the 'identities' that you invent and then target for the elections. 1955 is not really what you need; 1861 is more like it. That's your only hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The definition of "liberal" is "doesn't want 1st graders gunned down in the classroom."

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  2. Somerby says he only "perused the start" of Stancil's article. Perhaps that's part of Somerby's problem. He takes pains to give us Stancil's CV. It isn't clear if Somerby means to mock Stancil's background, but it is fairly impressive. Stancil is someone who studies such issues professionally, unlike Somerby, who, whenever he sees the word "segregation", immediately stops reading and rants and raves about "liberal bias", his inevitable cookie-cutter response. Can any long-time reader of the Howler actually believe that Somerby is serious about a discussion of "re-segregation" of schools? He doesn't give a coherent or fair critique of Stancil's argument. He doesn't even provide a link to the article. Here it is:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/03/school-segregation-is-not-a-myth/555614/

    I won't dignify Somerby's screed with any direct rebuttal. I will note that Stancil discusses the anti-re-segregation arguments, which sound remarkably similar to Somerby's, and tries to carefully refute them. The term "segregation" that Somerby hates, or pretends to hate, so much, is the word used simply to describe the racial diversity of a school. Two passages from Stancil's article stand out:

    "The poorest schoolchildren are very disproportionately nonwhite"

    And

    "the costs of attending a racially isolated school. There are many. They include reduced academic achievement, increased exposure to the criminal justice system, and significantly worsened professional and educational outcomes."

    Those seem like issues that ought to concern someone who claims to care about schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if Stancil "studies" those issues, or if he is more like a hired gun for "civil rights advocates".

      Your own liberal response in interesting/illustrative. In the liberal world, people who argue against "Liberal dogma" can NEVER have any sort of point, nor be decent people. Instead they are just "ranting and raving" and produce "screeds" and "cookie cutter responses" that should not even be "dignified" by any sort of rebuttal (other than a metaphorical middle finger).

      Having engaged in a number of arguments on liberal message boards I often have to wonder "is it never possible for me to just be wrong"? Do I have to be wrong AND defective? Liberals never seem to believe that "X is true". They always seem to believe that "X is true and only a$$holes/morons believe that X is false."

      Delete
    2. Much, much smarter trolls please.

      Delete
  3. "They hate our seamy moral preening."

    Somerby does like to use the third person to refer to himself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can anything be as mind-bogglingly ignorant as this Howler post? Somerby is making the claim that a serious study of segregated (or racially isolated) schools is somehow an affront to conservatives. That a serious study like Stancil's is designed as an elaborate put down of them. ("This kind of thing helps explain why so many people hate us.") So much for academic study of schools...it's all just libs doin' their thing, apparently. Somerby's post here is ridiculous, childish and insulting. And it is not serious analysis. Somerby doesn't even bother to give Stancil's views a serious consideration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon - I read Somerby differently. I think he was complaining about using the word "segregated" to mean something far different from its ordinary meaning.

      Delete
    2. Like I said, Somerby doesn't bother to even read the article after getting hung up on a definition of a word. Great work. And then proceeds to slime the author. The word is a term of art, but Somerby just wants to employ his dumbass talking point to avoid even considering the actual argument made. That is the mark of a loser.

      Delete
    3. Dave the Guitar PlayerMarch 16, 2018 at 12:40 PM

      At the risk of defending DinC, Bob is pointing out that the very basis of the argument (segregated) does not apply. Stancil is using a racially charged term, when, if he truly is exposing inequality, the problem is poverty. Using race for a surrogate for poverty is divisive and is not helpful.

      Delete
    4. Did you read the article?

      Delete
    5. And did you notice Dave that Somerby never even linked to the article? He didn't even want you to read it to form your own opinion. Somerby is a lazy loser in this topic.

      Delete
    6. Check's in the mail, Dave.

      Delete
  5. Off topic, and I know Mao will like this, Trump is Putin's bitch.
    Send Russian agents to kill his enemies.
    Have Russians hack the computers that manage American and European national infrastructure.
    DinC is torn-will this hurt only liberals? or will this affect him and his fellow travelers?
    Bob blames it on Rachel Maddow.

    Putin to Trump-"Bend over, I'll drive".
    What does Putin have on Trump?

    ReplyDelete
  6. BTW, Trump is a liar and a thief.

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