Outsized reaction to Yale scam continues!

SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019

Nobody cares about black kids:
Sometimes, the larger scandal lies in the way our upper-end press corps reacts to some limited scandal.

So it goes with the current hot scandal concerning a relative handful of upper-end parents who cheated to get their kids admitted to a handful of upper-end colleges.

This morning, the New York Times has gone wild again, publishing five (5) more full-length reports about this rather limited matter. In this morning's print editions, the Times offers this array of reports:
In today's hard-copy Times:

A front-page report about the scandal, right there on page A1. (It's a troubled and troubling portrait of the respected Yale soccer coach.)

A front-page report in the Business Day section. It's right there on page B1.

Three (3) more full-length reports inside the National section. We'll quote from one below.
By our count, this means that the Times has published twelve (12!) full-length reports about this rather limited matter in the last three days, not counting material in its Sports section. Four of these reports have been on page A1, the hard-copy Times front page.

The usual nonsense has appeared as editors delight at the chance to talk about Hollywood, the super-rich and the cultural greatness of schools like Yale all at the very same time.

Our favorite bit of small-bore nonsense appeared in one of Thursday's front-page reports. As a courtesy to the reporters, we'll exclude their names:
TWO UNNAMED REPORTERS (3/14/19): The government’s indictments of dozens of parents, college administrators and coaches exposed an ugly array of corrupt and illegal admissions practices.

But there is also a perfectly legal world of gaming the college admissions process by doing everything from picking advanced classes, choosing the right sport, giving donations and turning to the multibillion-dollar industry of test prep, college essay editing and advice on how to produce the perfect application.
Did you follow the apparent logic there? Unless we misunderstand what was said, a student is now "gaming the system" if he or she takes Advanced Placement classes when he or she is in high school!

If you take AP classes, you're gaming the system! So it seems to say in paragraph 6 of a New York Times front-page report! So it goes when the "rational animals" at the Times grab hold of a "story" they like.

Our favorite nonsense in today's paper comes from a report about student reaction on the handful of campuses involved in this rather limited scandal. At the New York Times, editors routinely wave copy like this into print without even bating an eye:
LEVIN, DE LEON AND HASSAN (3/16/19): At the University of California, Los Angeles—among the campuses ensnared in the shocking scheme—students like Ayesha Haleem said she and her classmates were both heartbroken and fuming.

“The higher education system has always benefited people who come from privileged backgrounds,” said Ms. Haleem, a Pakistani 23-year-old senior. “Students of color have it so much harder to even get to these places.”

The issue of race-based admissions dominated conversations at the University of Texas at Austin, which was party to a landmark affirmative action case several years ago and has a student body that is now 41 percent white, down from 62.7 percent in 2000.
All right, all right—the scheme was shocking! That said, our question would be this:

If it's so hard for students of color to get admitted to these schools, why is the student enrollment at Austin down to just 41 percent?

The comment quoted by the reporters was made by a heartbroken, fuming student at UCLA.

But according to the NCES data base used by the Times for such matters, undergraduate enrollment at UCLA is now just 27 percent white. Somehow, it seems that a lot of students who aren't white are getting accepted at Westwood! (We regard that as a good thing.)

(Fuller disclosure: At UCLA, white enrollment seems to be roughly 31 percent among non-foreign students. More on these NCES enrollment statistics next week.)

"All the news that's fit to print!" At one time, that was the slogan.

Today, the slogan might be somewhat different: It might go something like this:
All the quotations, and all the news, which fit prevailing scripts!"
The quote from the heartbroken student at UCLA fits the much-loved prevailing narrative. For that reason, the Times was eager to let you read it.

Did editors even notice the way that enrollment statistic doesn't seem to align with the student's complaint? We don't know how to answer that question, but unremarked non sequiturs of this type are common in Times reporting.

The Times is in a major tizzy about a rather small number of enrollment slots which went to the unfortunate children of some horribly grasping parents.

This "scandal" is very limited in scope at this time, but it involves both Hollywood and Yale. For that reason, the Times has swung into action, clutching real pearls as it falls on a couch, perhaps somewhere in the Hamptons.

For perhaps the ten millionth time, we're going to show you the wide-ranging education scandal the New York Times doesn't tell you about. Below, you see the latest scores in Grade 8 math for the 99.9 percent of American kids who aren't the children of grasping Hollywood stars or grasping corporate moguls:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2017

White kids: 292.16
Black kids: 259.60
Hispanic kids: 268.49
Asian-American kids: 309.52
Those data define the actual scandal which lies at the heart of American education. Based on a very rough rule of thumb, the average black eighth-grader is roughly three years behind the average white kid in math, perhaps as much as five years behind the average Asian ancestry kid. The average Hispanic kid is less than one year better.

The New York Times doesn't publish or discuss those very basic, brutal statistics. The Times doesn't fill its pages with reports about that state of affairs, possibly for the most obvious reason:

Judging from appearances, the New York Times doesn't care about the nation's black kids! Nor is there any sign that it ever has.

Yale and Hollywood win the prize. Those horrible nationwide data are swept away, sent down the drain.

We'll be discussing this general topic all year long, focusing on the press corps' treatment of the Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail campaign. Of one thing you can be quite certain:

Nothing we show you, including those data, will ever enter the national discourse.

That discourse is run by the New York Times and by people who want to work for the Times. They're thrilled by Felicity Huffman in chains, by black kids not so much.

Everybody cares about Yale. About black kids, not so much! Yes, this is the national culture developed by us, the rational animals. And yes, this is the tribal culture of Us in our silk liberal tents.

25 comments:

  1. The student commented about how HARD it was to get into UCLA. No doubt that student worked very hard just to get to the point of application. You must work hard to do well on those AP tests and to score high on the SAT or ACT, and to get good grades in courses. And then there are the extra-curriculars. Students whose parents do not cheat their way into UCLA do not work as hard because they have not earned their scores. The unfairness is about how HARD the non-cheaaters have worked, not how difficult it is to get in. Hard means something different to students than to parents and administrators, and apparently Somerby.

    Somerby's comparison of foreign and non-foreign percentages is interesting. UCLA and other state schools who have seen their public funding cut repeatedly over the past several decades have increasingly turned to preferring foreign students because those students pay much higher tuition than state residents. California students have had to compete against foreign students (often top performers in their native countries) not just other students in their state. Similarly, preference has been given to out-of-state students who pay higher out-of-state tuition. This competition is worse at the graduate level. As states have systematically cut education budgets, have they understood the pressures they have placed on both parents and students trying to gain admittance? I doubt it. The rich and famous compete by using their money to buy a chance for their students but what do middle class parents do? Both Somerby and the NY Times should be asking that question and relating this situation back to the funding problems created by austerity budgets going back at least to 2009.

    This is not about black kids. It is about all kids. Somerby's limited understanding of realities on the ground for parents leads him to carp about black kids and Yale when the real problem is starvation of our best universities for funds, which has been passed onto the backs of hard-working students who are trying their best to succeed in a more competitive environment.

    Teachers understand that if you make a test unreasonably difficult, you encourage desperate students to cheat. That doesn't excuse the cheating but it means that the teachers are complicit by setting expectations to high to achieve by normal means. The rich parents are a sign of distress among all students, up and down the line. We should be paying attention to that, not just gawking at stars in handcuffs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, defining "privileged background" as the antithesis of "students of color" (whatever the hell that might be) is a typical liberal race-mongering absurdity.

    As always, thank you, Bob, for documenting the atrocities.

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  3. Trump will certainly win again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Presumably, the Too Small to Fail program at the Clinton Foundation is a worthwhile project that helps kids, including black kids. Is it an attempt to narrow achievement gaps? Most likely. (Somerby has written approvingly about the program a few times in the past.) The Clintons are considered liberal, at least by everyone on the right and a fair number on the left. Thus, “nobody cares about black kids” isn’t true. Also, there are at least some in those silken liberal tents who do care about black kids.

    Perhaps the New York Times doesn’t care about black kids, because they published too many articles about the college admissions scandal, and they “never” discuss achievement gaps, which, according to Somerby, is apparently the litmus test that shows whether someone cares about black kids or not. Let’s assume he is correct about the Times. It doesn’t follow that “nobody” cares about black kids. (The Clintons do, right?) The Times is not the sole source of insight into what liberals care about.

    (As a side note, since “nobody” cares about black kids, does this mean conservatives don’t care either? Somerby’s readers are out of luck if they are looking to him to explore conservatives’ concerns about education, though).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Democrats don't have to care about black kids. By painting Republicans as racists, Democrats will get the black vote, no matter how little they do for blacks. E.g., blacks support school choice and unions oppose it. Democrats support the union position and throw blacks under the bus on this issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "By painting Republicans as racists..."

      Democrats are taking the easy way out, I see.

      Delete
  6. *** Public Service Announcement ***

    David in Cal is this commentariat’s village idiot, both morally and intellectually. There is no piece of right-wing propaganda that he won’t swallow whole and regurgitate here.

    You may safely ignore anything he has to say.

    Public school choice is popular across the board. Gallup in 2015 found 64% of their respondents (and 68% of their black respondents) supported public school choice.

    Vouchers and other plans that allow parents to get tax money to send their children to private schools, not so much. The same Gallup poll found only 31% of respondents (and 33% of black respondents) supported publicly-funded private school choice.

    Notice how this moral and intellectual idiot accuses Democrats (presumably white) of cheating gullible black voters merely by “painting” Republicans as racists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I give up, deadrat, you win. He's an idiot. And morally bankrupt.

      Delete
    2. “Public school choice is popular across the board.”

      deadrat, last I heard, public schools are funded by the tax base of the particular village, town, borough or what have you.

      “Vouchers and other plans that allow parents to get tax money to send their children to private schools, not so much.” I am in absolute total agreement.

      Public schools should be funded in full for their needs, not because of some tax code, which affords wealthier communities more money for public education, for their rich inhabitants. And no tax money should go to private institutions, period. But that horse is out of the gate.

      The current system only ensures that K-12 education does not reach those who need it most. At least, as far as I know.

      Leroy

      Delete
  7. deadrat, yes, there are various types of school choice such as vouchers, publicly funded private school choice, or public school choice BTW you left of privately funded school choice, as per a plan recently proposed by Sen. Cruz. But, the bottom line is that your numbers support my basic assertion: blacks overwhelming support some version of school choice.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with DavidinCal. We should totally do everything that blacks want.
      That would make a great re-election campaign slogan for Trump.

      Delete
    2. Be careful 12:19, we wouldn't want to do anything blacks "in unions" want.

      Delete
  8. All that effort and cost to get kids into schools that dumb them down enough to vote for equally stupid and depraved candidates who write "As I neared the young ones, I put all my weight on my right foot, keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor until I heard the crashing of the two children on the hood, and then the sharp cry of pain from one of the two. I was so fascinated for a moment, that when after I had stopped my vehicle, I just sat in a daze, sweet visions filling my head."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @12:45 - Although I think Beto is a preposterous candidate, I will defend him against the misuse of his teen-age fantasy writings. They are entirely irrelevant to his adult capabilities (or lack thereof).

      BTW my teen-age granddaughter also writes bloodthirsty fantasy stories. Hers involve female protagonists. They mean nothing. It's just a popular genre that she reads a lot of. Hopefully she will mature into reading other genres, where the writing skills she honed writing fantasy will remain useful.

      Delete
    2. "schools that dumb them down enough to vote for equally stupid and depraved candidates"

      Meh. What we've witnessed during the last 2 years make it clear that US president is supposed to be a mere figurehead. The unelected establishment (aka 'deep state') is ruling the country. They make all the decisions, while the president is clowning on TV, a-la Barry The Demigod.

      Fighting the establishment is nearly impossible, even for a super-famous fella like The Donald, let alone some nobody named 'Beto'. So, stupid or not, depraved or not, it doesn't make any difference.

      Delete
    3. Teenage girls aren't the menace that teenage boys are. Would you want the teenage psycho Beto who fantasized about killing children around your teenage granddaughter? He would be removed from school and rightly placed under supervision for being mentally deranged. His fantasy reads like a school shooter manifesto.

      Delete
    4. "The unelected establishment (aka 'deep state') is ruling the country. They make all the decisions, while the president is clowning on TV..."

      I see the Right-wing is already inflating their lifeboats for the getaway, after running the country into a ditch again. That's the "Party of Accountability" for you. LOL.
      Let's not wait to punch holes in their lifeboats this time.

      Delete
  9. “Did you follow the apparent logic there? Unless we misunderstand what was said, a student is now "gaming the system" if he or she takes Advanced Placement classes when he or she is in high school! “

    That’s not precisely the point of the story. AP classes are part of a range of strategies suggested by “college consultants” to parents and students eager to get into high-powered colleges. This consulting business is apparently a multi-billion dollar business nowadays. It shows the monetization of getting into college. And the current scandal is an outgrowth of that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. “Nothing we show you, including those data, will ever enter the national discourse. “

    It’s not entirely clear that the US has any clearly defined “national discourse”, or that it ever has. Certainly, Somerby restricts his view of the discourse to platforms like the Times and MSNBC, while generally avoiding other aspects of the discourse that appear in other media outlets with similar national scope, such as the Wall Street Journal or Fox News.

    He also ignores other platforms where education is being discussed, such as other non-NY or Washington-based newspapers, or other sites on the internet that may not be the powerhouses that the Times or the Post are, but which nonetheless represent important windows into the discourse that is actually going on.

    Discussion outside the prestigious, legacy news outlets do have interesting, valuable things to say sometimes, and are worthy of a little occasional attention. It might even be essential to survey more of our discourse before making sweeping statements about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa, sensible criticism from anon. What's happening to these here comment threads?

      Well, "national discourse" in Bob's mind amounts to mainstream liberal propaganda. That's the segment he chooses to concern himself with.

      Delete
    2. Of course corporate America is liberal. Why wouldn't they be? Have you ever spoken to a Conservative about economics? They're pretty up front about not having a clue about how any of it works. It goes hand-in-hand with their total misunderstanding about basic mathematics.

      Delete
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