GAPS AND TRACKS: We'll just pour resources into the schools!

THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2018

Part 3—Solutions from those who don't care:
Should New York City operate "highly selective" schools at all?

Should the city identify the highest achieving kids and let them attend their own middle and high schools? Should the city run a Stuyvesant High or a Bronx High School of Science?

Should Boston run its own "exam schools?" Should it run Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, each of which is "selective?" Should our big city systems operate such schools at all?

These are perfectly sensible questions. We're discussing public education here, not private institutions. And the creation of "highly selective" schools may have undesirable effects throughout our public school systems.

Perhaps it's just a lousy idea to operate such "prestigious" schools at all. On the other hand, it's definitely a lousy idea to approach this important topic through the kind of journalism the New York Times tends to provide.

Why is this an important topic? Because we're talking about 1.1 million public school students in Gotham alone, most of them black and Hispanic. Also, because we're talking about a giant school system which produces data like these:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, Naep
New York City Public Schools, 2017

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
You're looking at punishing data—at giant achievement gaps. They affect those 1.1 million kids, and they affect the whole nation. But while Rachel is crying and breaking down about two thousand mistreated kids, the 1.1 million kids of New York are consigned to the incompetent journalism of Harris and Hu.

The 1.1 million kids of New York don't get mentioned by stars like Maddow. It simply isn't done. And when they're left to the likes of Harris and Hu (and their unnamed, incompetent editors), we're left with such efforts as this:
HU AND HARRIS (6/18/18): In Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest district, there are only two selective high schools and two “highly gifted” magnet schools. Boston has seven schools that screen—all high schools—including the prestigious Boston Latin School, a feeder for Harvard University that has an entrance exam akin to New York’s specialized high school test. In Seattle, the only screened schools are two elementary schools with accelerated curriculums for “highly capable” students who pass a district-administered gifted test.
For details, see yesterday's report. But given the entire nation to choose from, who other than Harris and Hu would compare New York City—unfavorably!—to glorious distant Seattle, a largely middle-class district which is heavily white and Asian-American?

To a city where the black-white achievement gap is much larger than it is in New York? To a city whose black kids are half a year behind New York City's black kids in the sixth grade, according to Professor Reardon's recent study?

Given the entire nation to choose from, who except the New York Times would come up with such a miscast comparison? And by the way, Boston seems to screen its middle and high school students just as much as New York does. Seven high schools may not seem like a lot, but Boston's a much smaller system!

Does anyone give a flying flip about the nation's black and Hispanic kids? Or does a different agenda obtain at am upper-class newspaper like the Times, which seems to focus on assuring liberal readers that We are the morally good advocates of "desegregation," as opposed to Them, the bad people found Over There?

Monday's front-page report by Hu and Harris was an insult to the nation's intelligence. For our money, the wheels had finally come all the way off the wagon with this insultingly clueless late passage:
HU AND HARRIS: The process at every level can be grueling for children and their families. “I don’t think anyone who’s gone through the high school application process thinks it’s anything but legalized child abuse,” said Clara Hemphill, the editor of the popular school guide InsideSchools, a project of The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. “I think it would be a healthier system if we poured resources into neighborhood schools to make them stronger.”
Ignore the thrilling, quotable claim about "legalized child abuse." (No alternate view is offered.) Like everyone else the scribes quoted that day, Hemphill seems to oppose the operation of "highly selective" schools.

That's a perfectly valid position, but good God—that final quotation!

At least as presented, Hemphill seems to have said that New York should return to neighborhood schools, the kinds of schools the city ran before it began permitting so many schools to "screen" students for admission.

That's a perfectly valid position. The insult comes when Hemphill, at least as quoted, explains why this would work out so well:

“I think it would be a healthier system if we poured resources into neighborhood schools to make them stronger.” That's how Hemphill is quoted.

We'll just "pour resources" into those schools! Might we note a few shortcomings with this stirring suggestion?

We'll note that Hemphill doesn't say what those "resources" might be. Nor does she say why the city didn't simply pour these resources into these schools in the first place.

Beyond that, there's no sign that Harris and Hu ever got off their upper-class ascots and took the time and the trouble to ask her. But so it goes when the New York Times pretends to report on the schools.

We'll just "pour resources" into those schools! This will make them "stronger." But would it erase the brutal achievement gaps we've already posted today? Trust us! New York Times readers will never be asked to consider a question like that.

New York Times readers are skillfully shielded from any such unpleasant questions! Times editors would hold hands and leap from the George Washington Bridge before they'd ask their upper-end readers to gaze on data like these, or to know what those data seem to mean:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, Naep
New York City Public Schools, 2017

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
Judged by a standard, very rough rule of thumb, those data mean that the average black kid in New York's public schools is (something like) five years behind the average Asian-American kid at the end of eighth grade.

Five years behind at the end of eighth grade! But don't worry! We'll "pour resources" into our neighborhood schools. That will make the schools stronger!

The insouciance of that quote (as presented) contrasts with glimpses offered by Harris and Hu of those neighborhood schools in the old days. Why did Gotham ever decide to take the "highly selective" route? In paragraph 9, the reporters start to explain:
HU AND HARRIS: Until at least the 1970s, most New York City students attended their neighborhood schools. Over the years, more options to these neighborhood schools emerged, often appealing to middle-class families and providing an alternative for families of many backgrounds to large comprehensive schools that were overwhelmed with struggling students, according to educators and parents.
Interesting! According to educators and parents, those large comprehensive neighborhood schools "were overwhelmed with struggling students" back in the good old days! When other options were provided, those options "appeal[ed] to middle-class families" and to "families of many backgrounds."

("Families of many backgrounds?" That's a disguised way of saying that many of these educationally ambitious families actually weren't white or middle-class.)

Breaking! Apparently, middle-class families, along with families of many backgrounds, prefer to send their kids to schools which aren't "overwhelmed!" Here's the way that ended up in New York:
HU AND HARRIS: Then, during Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, the city required all children to apply to a high school in their eighth-grade year. Students rank up to 12 choices, and then get matched to one school by a special algorithm. The idea was to allow students to escape failing neighborhood schools and apply anywhere they chose.
Intriguing! Under the Bloomberg procedures, Gotham's students were "allowed to escape failing neighborhood schools." Or at least, some students were allowed to escape those schools—the students able to gain admission into selective schools.

Might we offer a thought? In these brief glimpses, Hu and Harris paint an extremely unattractive picture of those old neighborhood schools.

Gotham's large neighborhood schools were "overwhelmed with struggling students," we're told. They were "failing" schools, which families longed to "escape."

Today, though, there's no need for concern! We'll just "pour resources" into those schools! That will make them "stronger!"

The point we're making is simple. Harris and Hu and their unnamed editors seem to have one thing on their minds. They want to pose as apostles of "integration." There's little sign that they know or care about anything else.

There's no sign that they have the first freaking clue about the size of the academic challenge facing the nation's public schools. Beyond that, we'll make the obvious point:

There's no freaking sign that they care.

New York City's schools are full of good, decent kids. They're also full of good, decent kids who are black and Hispanic. Many of those kids are struggling badly in the classroom, though, without question, not all. (More on that tomorrow.)

In response to that mountain of pain, Harris and Hu and their hapless editors want to change a few diversity numbers a tad. They want to call this "desegregation." But that seems to be where their interest ends. They have no apparent understanding or concern beyond that.

In fairness, Harris and Hu aren't education specialists. The New York Times is too uncaring to bother with piddle like that.

Tomorrow: Where does "tracking" come from? A look at Gotham's astonishing (non-racial) achievement gaps

The basic takeaway here: The New York Times will never ask you to come to terms with data like these:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, Naep
New York City Public Schools, 2017

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
The Times doesn't seem to care about that. It cares about something else.

38 comments:

  1. "The basic takeaway here: The New York Times will never ask you to come to terms with data like these:"

    Why not? As I have noted here before, grappling with the gaps will lead to discussions it is better not to have. It will lead to people insisting that brown skinned people are inherently inferior. It will lead to attacks on the parenting of parents of struggling kids. It will lead to a conclusion that the gaps cannot be addressed, so why try. It will lead to insistence on tracking brown kids into classes designed to equip them for menial jobs and shutting them out of other resources. Why do I think that? Because that is what has happened in the past when such discussions have been had. It isn't helpful to engage in this discussion.

    It is better to adopt a policy of addressing the specific, individual needs of each child in whatever way makes sense given the resources and organization of each school system.

    Somerby contemptuously states that the NY Times is against tracking. He states the dubious proposition that special schools and classes for gifted students constitutes tracking. I disagree. But the needs of the gifted have always been pitted against the needs of struggling students, as if education were zero sum. Why does it have to be? And we are all still waiting for Somerby to offer his solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why does TDH have the worst trolls and the most clueless commenters?

      … grappling with the gaps will lead to discussions it is better not to have. It will lead to people insisting that brown skinned people are inherently inferior.

      Where ya been, Sparky? That train has not only left the station, it’s been leaving the station regularly throughout our history.

      It is better to adopt a policy of addressing the specific, individual needs of each child in whatever way makes sense given the resources and organization of each school system.

      Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! Good one!

      Oh, wait. You were serious, weren’t you? Do you think it’s even possible to “address” the needs of students individually? I hear there are over 1M students in NYC public schools. What kind of “resources” do you think are available to most school systems?

      And we are all still waiting for Somerby to offer his solution.

      Who’s we? You and the rest of the clueless Anonymi? TDH doesn’t owe anyone a solution because he writes about a problem. Here’s an analogy for you:

      You’re on a flight and notice that the wing outside your window is on fire. You call over a flight attendant and point out the flames. She shrugs and says “We need to wait until you offer a solution.”

      Consider this your warning. You are reading far below grade level and are in jeopardy of being left behind. Again.

      Delete
    2. Schools in California make an Individual Education Plan for children with special needs, required by law. The teacher sits with the parent and explains how that child's needs will be addressed during the coming school year. The child's progress is evaluated according to such a plan. This is highly similar to the way many businesses evaluate employees. There is no reason this could not be implemented for every child.

      Deadrat laughs this off as unworkable. Easy to be cynical. Hope his kids never need advocacy.

      Delete
    3. @deadrat:
      "TDH doesn’t owe anyone a solution because he writes about a problem."

      Who says Somerby "owes" anything to anyone? It would be nice to hear his thoughts on this. He was a teacher for 10 years after all, and he wrote a few op-eds about educational topics years ago. He isn't like a passenger viewing a burning airplane wing.

      And, most assuredly, no one is waiting on Somerby to discuss educational issues or "offer a solution." The discussion is ongoing. Somerby could offer an analysis or informed opinion about the ideas being discussed, like whether the school choice reflected in the screening of students in NYC's public school system is good or bad. But about that he says "might be good, might be bad. Don't know."

      But he does know liberals don't care. That he has no doubt of. Whether it's actually true or not is not important. It's Somerby's belief that matters.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous on June 21, 2018 at 4:54 PM,

      How could you tell that I was laughing? Pretty impressive, but I'm laughing at you. But don't take it personally; it's only so I don't cry.

      Ya know what starting teachers make in New York City? $45.5. That would be a princely sum compared to most of the rest of the country if it weren't so damned expensive to live in NYC. But I'm sure those overpaid teachers would just love to come up with 20 individualized teaching plans for each student and then teach at 20 different levels, tracking each child's progress.

      So I guess you're right. There's no reason this couldn't be implemented. Except in the real world, of course.

      Don't worry about my kids. I don't have any.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous on June 21, 2018 at 5:57 PM,

      You say "assuredly" no one is waiting for Somerby's solutions? It's right up there in the comment you responded to:

      And we are all still waiting for Somerby to offer his solution.

      By we I take it the commenter was speaking for all clueless Anonymi. And then there's

      He isn't like a passenger viewing a burning airplane wing.

      So you can't read and you've failed the analogy section. I sure hope they have one of those individualized remediation plans where you live.

      Delete
    6. deadrat June 21, 2018 at 7:33 PM

      TDH's resident Anton Chigurh proves impotent. Lacking the inference he admonishes another commenter over, and suggesting his ad hominem attacks of 'troll" and "clueless" are mere projections, he fails to distinguish between two sentences that both use the literal word "waiting", but convey different yet valid notions.

      TDH is often more than solely an observer, and even has some degree of expertise with this particular subject. Calling out TDH to offer positive thoughts instead of whining does not conflict with others discussing the topic.

      Teachers routinely offer individual attention to students, in essence individual plans, and do track each child's progress as a matter of job requirement.

      Is there a mechanism available for deadrat to even have children? Evidence suggests otherwise.

      Delete
    7. Re: Anonymous on June 22, 2018 at 6:18 AM

      This is such a masterpiece of cluelessness that I’m inclined to believe that it’s parody or at least cyber-performance art.

      Let’s see. I’m the commenter equivalent of a psychopathic contract killer (although how that would work on comment threads is unclear). “Evidence” suggests that I’m either impotent or sterile or both. Worst of all, I can’t deconstruct the oh-so-fine gradations in meaning of a “literal” word. And no post of this kind would be complete with the mindreading (I’m “projecting”, dontchaknow.)

      Oh, yeah. Before I forget, an ad hominem “attack” isn’t harsh criticism; it’s dismissal of an argument on the grounds of the identity of the person making the argument. If I’d said that Mao’s contributions were worthless because he’s from Cheng Ji or that David in Cal’s arguments weren’t worthy of consideration because he’s an accountant, those would be ad hominem.

      Mao is a troll and David is a moral and intellectual idiot because of what they post. But you go ahead and defend their comments if you want.

      Somerby as TDH is never more than an observer. That’s what a blogger is. It’s possible that outside his blog, he’s an activist or policy maker or heavy hitter in the educationist apparat. And it’s possible that TDH has “some degree of expertise” in this subject that goes beyond navigating NAEP data. But no one knows whether these things obtain based on the blog he writes. If you have outside evidence to the contrary, let us know, but it needs to be better than the ”evidence” you’ve marshaled about me.

      Of course “calling out” TDH doesn’t preclude others discussing the topic. I’ve never maintained otherwise, and how could I stop such discussions if I objected to them? All I’ve said is that it’s misguided to criticize TDH for not having solutions to the problems he raises. You’d know that if you could read for comprehension, which the evidence of your words suggests you can’t. Not you, your comments.

      Yes, teachers “routinely” offer individual attention to students, and if that routine work of pedagogy were sufficient to close the gaps, there wouldn’t be gaps. I know! Let’s pour resources into neighborhood schools. That’s the ticket.

      Here’s a question for you: how do you know that I don’t have children?

      Delete
    8. deadratJune 22, 2018 at 1:50 PM

      Bwahahahahha your defense of yourself is so clueless it is laughable.

      Just like in the book, Anton Chigurh is a metaphor, you dumb fuck.

      No one thinks what you do is harsh criticism (perhaps the most laughable thing you wrote), your obvious goal is ego appeasement. Weaponizing comment parsing pretty much defines what an asshole is, but gawd its worse because you're wrong. That said, your definition of ad hominem is slightly off.

      Your reading comprehension is well below your grade level.

      Assessing your projection does not require mind reading, it is easy to discern through inference. You are in the same cohort as Mao and David, get over it.

      TDH, who has posted about his activism as well as ideas for solving various issues, has also posted complaints about news reports that focused too much on gaps while ignoring gains. TDH archives are searchable, have at it, the burden is on you, for various reasons, but mostly because you're an unpleasant person. Bwahahahahaaha. Yawn.

      There is research on the correlation between teachers and the gaps, google. Your views on this subject are as empty as your understanding of the views of others that actually care about this subject.

      I could go on, go through your ridiculous comment point by point but, zzzzzzzzzzz lordy on top of being deathlessly wrong, you're also a complete bore.

      "Oh, yeah. Before I forget" "Don't worry about my kids. I don't have any."

      Listen, for that we are all grateful.

      Delete
    9. Let’s see: ego appeaser, asshole, unpleasant person, complete bore.

      I’ll have to agree with all of that.

      And before I forget, I’ll guess that when you say “we are all grateful” that I don’t have children, you mean the two of us. Because I doubt anyone else cares very much one way or the other. And how do you know that I don’t have any children?

      So now that our common ground has been established, perhaps you could actually demonstrate that I’m wrong. That’s always a possibility. I was wrong once. Back in 1964. May. The second week, as I recall. But your powers of inference, laziness, claims about “research”, invocation of the google, and pointers to searchable archives won’t do the job.

      As for Anton Chigurh as a metaphor? That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in this comment section in a while. Thanks for that. I certainly hope to hear more about the application of metaphor to a blog’s comment section.

      And damn! but you’ve got a high bar for harsh. “Moral and intellectual idiot” isn’t strong enough for you?

      Delete
    10. Your utter nonsense has already been exposed, get over it.

      We, as in everybody else. Nobody likes you and for good reason, as you essentially cop to. As an admittedly really awful song but apt considering the target says, move along.

      The All-American Rejects - Move Along

      So now that it has been established what an empty hack you are, dead wrong as you breathe, you offer nothing to take serious, nothing to warrant any kind of response other than a general sense of disgust, the only thing that matters now is, the last word.

      Thank you

      Delete
    11. Again, it’s true that nobody likes me, although it is only your delusions of adequacy that make you think you speak for “everybody else.”

      As for “already exposed” and “has been established,” not by you. For that, you’ll need evidence. Being the awful human being that I am has no bearing on whether I’m right. Neither do your insults, which would hurt my feelings. If I had any.

      But I hope you haven’t given me your last word. I was so hoping for an explication of metaphor in No Commentary for Old Men.

      Delete
    12. Again, it's true your nonsense has already been dealt with, your wrongs exposed, although your accusations are laughable they are also obvious projections, your protestations are empty and mere attention-baiting. I do pity your loneliness, I offer some solace with my mercy comment; however, your comprehension is well below your grade level and as a consequence your are easily riled, generating both delightful amusement and odium. As for your character within the realm of TDH commentary, you openly cop to the main point. The metaphor which has so entranced you is apt and straightforward, your feigning stupidity aside. I have not given my last word, I have the last word.

      Delete
    13. I’ve been trolled again! I’m embarrassed that this realization took as long as it did. This is a near-perfect parody of the worst of the TDH commentariat. Well played! I’m particularly fond of “amusement and odium”, but your pity for my “loneliness” gave the game away.

      Delete
    14. Your response poorly masks your desperate need for attention, it is however as empty as your self awareness. Yes "Well played!", yes you are a joke here, yes as others discuss issues you offer hollow insults as you merely parrot TDH while laughably claiming sagacity, but in reality displaying unbecoming behavior typically referred to as being an asshole. "Look at me, look at me, look at me!" you beg, yet your cluelessness foils any further consideration. It is true, you are the worst of the TDH commentariat, as has been previously evidenced and established. You are laughably dumb, your empty and childish protestations matter not as here we see again, I have the last word.

      Delete
    15. “As others discuss issues” Like how Somerby isn’t a liberal, is probably a Trump supporter, and hates women. Kinda like your fixation with analyzing me. Be gone troll!

      Although until someone develops a reliable cyber troll-reprellent, you and your kind will always have the last word. It seems you can’t help yourself. Go ahead, give a little more on Anton Chigurh as a “metaphor” for blog commenters.

      You know you want to.

      Delete
    16. Bwahahahahahaha, you are so unconvincing. We see your true colors and that's why we dislike you. You are disliked here, an unappreciated barnacle, get over it. I don't mind scraping until you are set free, it is a service that offers me endless amusement and satisfaction, and yes, the last word.

      I know it is killing you.

      Delete
    17. A cyber-troll followed me here. I'll ask Somerby if I can keep him.

      C'mon, wanker, for all the endiess amusement you claim to get from your compelled behavior, the least you could do is expound on metaphors in Cormac McCarthy's work and their relevance to blog commentary.

      And of course, you'll have the last word. You can't help yourself. Now I've got to go lose no sleep over the fact that you and your imaginary friends dislike me.

      Delete
    18. "I'll ask Somerby" you say as you gently tip over your king.

      I see you were able to locate Wikipedia's entry on Anton Chigurh. Yes the internet has more than porn my friend - I make no judgement, che macello! Of course I am mocking you, your sense of purpose here at TDH. Consciously, yet without conscience, you attempt to be death to any discussion here for those trying to understand things (yes often inelegantly), a plague to those who question your hero. Smelling salts, and quick! Indeed you fancy yourself a hero, a hero with empty goals however. I could go on but it is evident you are contriving cluelessness in this particular instance. True, in general your cluelessness is genuine and leads you down dark paths of misdeeds, it seems to be your fate, were fate to exist, but no, it is just your vanity.

      I do think you will take responsibility for your poor ethical behavior here at TDH, under the right guidance. I accept no payment, hints of integrity shall be reward enough.

      It is true you are disliked here, by my friends and foes alike, and mocking you is a delight. Nobody likes a dumb fuck with no self awareness such as yourself, but I believe in certain types of charity. I do not need to help myself, my help has been to your benefit, and to the benefit of all who partake of TDH. You can't stop what's coming.

      Delete
    19. You’re back. No surprise there. “I could go on,” you say, but really you can’t not go on. I can’t stop what’s coming? You mean more of your comments? Of course I can’t. More to the point, neither can you. And why would I want to? I’m your muse for an extended piece of performance art in trollery. People who find me such an object of fascination and projection are few indeed.

      As with anyone caught up in compelled behavior, understanding is so close. You write, “Nobody likes a dumb fuck with no self awareness.” You were almost there but then had to project onto me. ¡Qué lástima!

      How is it even possible to be death to any discussion here? In the same way that you imagine I had to go to Wikipedia to recognize the name Anton Chigurh. Or that you imagine my “dark paths of misdeeds.” Che macello indeed.

      Points for “It seems to be your fate, were fate to exist”, though.

      Apparently you are disinclined to maunder any further about the metaphoric in TDH commentary. Too bad, but understandable. But if you’re taking requests, I would like to hear your guidance on “ethical behavior here at TDH.”

      C’mon, you know you want to. In fact, I’ll bet you know you can’t resist.

      Delete
    20. Underneath all that nonsense, I can see the struggle in your feeble mind. Some neurons are upset at being under attack and demand attempts to feel a little less inferior, those do you no favor, unfortunately the world does not share your rosy view of yourself. But some neurons are like......maaaaybe I'll dip my pinky toe in the shallow puddle of integrity that surely exists in my character.

      Your role in TDH commentary, it's getting better all the time. Cue Lennon.

      Delete
    21. Is that all ya got, wanker? Don’t tire now. You’ll have to respond as long as I command it.

      That’s it? You can “see” a struggle through comments posted on a blog, right down to the neuronal level? You speak for the world now? You’re a parody of all the Anonymous clowns I contemn who claim to know how Somerby thinks and feels.

      Dip your pinky toe in the shallow puddle of your intellect and try a little harder. Your last effort was way below median.

      Maybe a little more Anton Chigurh would do the trick.

      Delete
    22. You present yourself as a weak-minded, low character, dumb fuck. I am guessing your mother really made a mess of you, while your father ignored you. Due to your low IQ - likely resulting from the poor quality of upbringing your parents provided, everything looks like mind reading, but those of us ever so slightly above your level have other tools available to us that do not involve the supernatural.

      Maybe a little more me will do the trick, no matter your claims, I will be your rock, cling tightly you little person.

      Delete
    23. "Weak-minded, low character, dumb fuck." Why is it always about the projection?

      Those of us? Who's that? You and your imaginary friends on this blog. You have no tools to fight your compulsion.

      Respond soon. You know you have to.

      Delete
    24. My compulsion is to effect change, I am pleased with the results. It could be from discomfort - fear, perhaps - but I am hopeful it is from introspection.

      Delete
    25. I'm sorry I didn't check back sooner. Sure enough, as I predicted you couldn't stay away. Your compulsion isn't to "effect change." How would that even be possible on a blog commentary? Your compulsion is to have the last word as a troll.

      Delete
  2. "Should New York City operate "highly selective" schools at all?"

    And why not, Bob? As the great man said: let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.

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  3. I doubt the authors wrote the headline. They never once mention the words "segregation" or "desegregation." The word "integrated" is mentioned once when describing a man who works with an organization that promotes integrated schools. Nor do the authors mention "race." They do state the statistical fact that "Many of these screened schools are clustered in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with enrollments that are more white, Asian and affluent than the overall school population."

    Somerby asks:
    "Should our big city systems operate such schools at all?"

    He states, in his usual noncommittal way: "the creation of "highly selective" schools may have undesirable effects throughout our public school systems."

    And that is precisely the point of the article: to ponder the effects of screening on the overall health of the NY public school system.

    One of these effects is to cluster high-performers in certain screened schools, leaving all other students in unscreened schools. This leads to the following situation, quoting from the article:

    "97 percent of students from specialized high schools graduated on time, as did 86 percent of students from screened schools. But for students at schools with no academic or geographic criterion, the graduation rate was 68 percent."

    One question that needs to be addressed is: Do the unscreened schools get shortchanged on funding, resources, etc? Are they threatened with being shut down? Does the attrition of higher-performing students have a negative impact on the unscreened schools? Or, to put it in infernal NAEP terms, Are students who score lower on the NAEP being neglected by New York's screening system?

    Why does Somerby say this: "who other than Harris and Hu would compare New York City—unfavorably!—to glorious distant Seattle"

    The authors do not make any value judgment about Seattle vs New York. They tell you nothing about the quality or lack thereof of Seattle's schools. They also mention Houston's school system. They seem to be making the point that the number of screened schools in New York City is high.

    Why does Somerby claim that the article is about race, racism, and segregation, when he is the one bringing up those things? He

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    Replies
    1. Another child left behind.

      The authors do not make any value judgment about Seattle vs New York.

      It’s a reasonable inference, but that hardly matters. The authors compare NYC with 8 selective schools to three other cities — LA (with “only” 2), Boston (with 7), Seattle(with “only” 2). But that information is useless without discussing the school populations of each city. (For those who like to claim that TDH is not about criticizing journalism, this is an example of journalistic incompetence.)

      Why does Somerby claim that the article is about race, racism, and segregation, when he is the one bringing up those things?

      He doesn’t and he doesn’t. You and the New York Times are the ones “bringing up those things”.

      Delete
    2. Well, it would be nice to discuss what the article actually said. As I pointed out, the headline is bad. It does not reflect the author's piece.

      Delete
  4. This is interesting.

    https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/06/new-study-concludes-that-rewarding-good-teachers-and-firing-bad-ones-accomplishes-nothing/

    The problem may be that teachers are not motivated by the kinds of rewards implemented in this study. Either that or the study designers don't know what affects student improvement and thus were unable to teach the teachers how to do that, beyond what they were already doing. Or it could indicate that learning comes from the students and not from the teachers, such that changing what the teacher does has little impact on what the students do. So the causal manipulation has to be with the students, not the teachers.

    This study strongly suggests that the new teacher evaluation methods being used to make teachers' lives miserable have little impact on improving outcomes for students, and further, that student outcomes are not a measure of how well the teacher has been teaching. So different measures for teachers are needed than ones based on student value added (increases in performance). Gates (who funded this study) has long been advocating those kinds of measures for teachers. It created a huge stink in the LAUSD. Now it seems it was all for nothing.

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  5. Data from both of the NAEP’s major studies seem to suggest that something has been working in the past dozen years.

    Even as the achievement gap has held steady, black kids have done much better when it comes to achievement itself. White kids have also done better, leaving the gap largely unchanged.

    But black kids are making progress in school, if we judge by the “long-term trend” NAEP data. According to those data, black kids have made lots of progress since 1990.

    One liberal education expert wrote:
    "The achievement gap between minority and white students in reading and math is larger than it was in 1988,” while failing to utter a single word about the change in achievement itself.

    Black and Hispanic kids get disappeared when it comes to their major score gains.

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