THE SEVEN PERCENT COLLUSION: Asian kids, report to the door!

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

The mayor's winners and losers:
Very few kids from any group will go to Stuyvesant High School.

According to the U.S. News report
concerning the nation's "Best High Schools," the famously elite, prestigious school "is one of 524 high schools in the New York City Public Schools."

That's a lot of high schools in New York City! Meanwhile, U.S. News lists Stuyvesant's 2018 enrollment at 3,328 students, or a bit over 800 students per grade.

In most American jurisdictions, that's a very big high school. But there are roughly 1.1 million students in the New York City Public Schools, the nation's largest school system.

The vast majority of Gotham's kids will never go to Stuyvesant. But at the famously upper-class New York Times, the kids who go to Stuyvesant High seem to be the only kids who count.

Somewhat surprisingly, U.S. News ranks Stuyvesant as Gotham's tenth best high school. But, as mentioned, Stuyvesant High is famous for being "elite," and is therefore highly "prestigious."

For that reason, the New York Times cares about black kids who go to Stuyvesant. The newspaper doesn't seem to care about black kids who go somewhere else.

In that sense, the famously Hamptons-based Times doesn't seem to care about the vast majority of Gotham's black kids—good decent kids for whom, all too often, life ain't been no crystal stair. The paper isn't even willing to to tell you about the vast achievement gaps which obtain across New York City's vast array of public schools—achievement gaps which compromise the life interests of these good decent (non-Stuyvesant) black kids.

With this brief bit of background completed, let's return to Mayor de Blasio's simplistic plan for Stuyvesant High—his "seven percent solution."

In yesterday's report, we quoted Times board member Mara Gay as she described the mayor's plan, which the Times board has endorsed. Here's the statement Gay made to Slate's Mary Harris, part of the most god-awful public discussion ever conducted on earth:
HARRIS (3/26/19): New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, he's struggled to be direct about the city's schools. He even avoided calling them "segregated" until this latest admissions story popped up last week. But he has come up with a plan.

GAY: The one good thing he has done so far is put forth this plan, which we have endorsed at the board, the editorial board of the Times, to take the top seven percent highest achievers of every middle school and try and offer them admission to the city's specialized schools. It's not perfect, but I think something drastic is required, and so that's a decent plan.
Gay thinks something drastic is required. For that reason, she endorses the mayor's simple-minded proposal, in which the top seven percent from each middle school would be admitted to Gotham's most high-powered high schools.

To Gay, the plan is less than perfect. At this site, we'd be inclined to call it "fly-infested," in part for reasons we discussed in yesterday's report.

That said, despite its lack of perfection, Gay supports the plan. But uh-oh! Earlier in their conversation, Gay also told Harris this:
GAY: I don't think this is an issue where there should be winners and losers. I think it's unfortunate, and it shows you what the need is in this city for great public education.

You know, I wish that we could just snap our fingers and expand and have more seats in these schools automatically. We can't do that, at least in the time being.
Gay doesn't think there should be winners and losers in this matter! In that case, we can only say this:

She has rather plainly endorsed the wrong simple-minded plan.

In fact, Mayor de Blasio's ugly plan is rich with winners and losers! He hasn't proposed adding seats to Stuyvesant and to Gotham's other "specialized high schools," thus increasing the likelihood that every "brilliant, accomplished" student could attend these schools.

(That would include the brilliant students of the mayor's and Gay's cruel dreams.)

The mayor hasn't proposed adding seats. He hasn't proposed opening a Stuyvesant Annex, meaning that every kid who can sensibly be expected to handle the school's high-powered curriculum would be have a chance to be challenged by it.

The mayor would leave the number of seats unchanged. He'd simply change the "race" and ethnicity of the kids who are permitted to occupy them.

The current admission procedure at Stuyvesant High is based on academic performance, full and complete total stop. Meanwhile, the data we keep showing you—the data you'll never see in the New York Times—help us see why Stuyvesant's current enrollment is heavily Asian-American:
90th percentile scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 337.79
Black students: 299.75
Hispanic students: 309.51
Asian-American students: 355.63

Students at "Advanced" level, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 13.2%
Black students: 0.9%
Hispanic students: 2.1%
Asian-American students: 27.3%
For all Naep data, start here.

Those sobering statistics remove the mystery about Stuyvesant High's current demographics. For that reason, you never see such data reported or discussed within the New York Times, by board members like the youthful Gay or by reporters like the even younger Eliza Shapiro.

At present, Stuyvesant is heavy with Asian-American kids for a blindingly obvious reason. All across the United States, not excluding New York City, Asian-American kids are, at present, and for whatever reason, our highest academic performers by far.

For whatever reason, the achievement gaps between black and Asian-American kids are extremely large. This defines a major national problem—a major problem the New York Times doesn't want to report or discuss.

Mayor de Blasio doesn't seem to care about that major problem either. Neither does Mara Gay, who emerged in that conversation with Harris as a propagandist of the highest and most ridiculous order.

In fairness, Gay isn't an education specialist. The Times cares so little about pubic schools that it doesn't have such a person on its editorial board.

Instead, it sent its youngest new board member out to hector the public about her city's public schools, though only about such schools as serve her city's top two percent. The vast majority of black kids—the kids who produce the average score shown below—are apparently beneath this board member's regard:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
Those average scores define a major American problem. Unless you read the New York Times, which only cares about black kids who might end up at Yale!

At any rate, Gay told Harris that she doesn't want to see winners and losers in any new plan for Gotham's eight "specialized high schools." Unfortunately, her own newspaper, one week before, had included this remarkable bit of analysis in a front-page report about those very same schools:
SHAPIRO (3/19/19): The specialized school admissions process has been protected by state law since 1971, but last summer, Mr. de Blasio asked for Albany’s approval to scrap the exam and replace it with a system that admits the top performers from every city middle school.

[...]

A recent report found that offers to Asian-American students, who now make up about 60 percent of the specialized schools, would drop by about half under the mayor’s plan, while offers to black students would increase fivefold if that plan is approved.

Critics of Mr. de Blasio’s plan have expressed frustration that he did not offer the Asian-American community any concessions, such as a new specialized high school, for all the seats they would lose under the proposal.
High-performing Asian-American kids, please report to the door! According to that analysis, seats occupied by this highest-performing group would literally be cut by half under the mayor's proposal.

Seats for the lowest-performing group would increase fivefold! In a report in this morning's Times, Shapiro takes things a bit further:
SHAPIRO (4/11/19): Mr. de Blasio’s plan to scrap the admissions exam, which must be approved by the State Legislature, and create a new system that enrolls the top performers at each city middle school into elite high schools has been met with a fierce backlash. Alumni say it would water down the schools’ quality and Asian-American parents argue the plan is biased against their children.

The city has projected that eliminating the exam would transform the specialized schools’ demographics from about 10 percent black and Hispanic to about 45 percent, and an independent analysis found that offers to Asian-American students would drop from about 60 percent to 30 percent.
Despite Gay's misleading protestations, the mayor's simplistic plan teems with winners and losers. Because this hapless mayor has chosen to add no additional seats at these schools, his simplistic proposal might as well be called "The Asian Removal Act."

Should New York City be operating highly selective high schools at all? Should it be operating high schools which feature an extremely challenging curriculum and nothing else?

Different people will have different ideas about such questions. But on one point there can be no dispute:

The upper-class folk at the New York Times don't seem to care about the vast majority of New York City's black kids. They've ignored their plight for the past fifty years, and so have the Gays of this world.

Tomorrow: Nothing to look at! Just move along! Our liberal tribe has behaved this way for the past fifty years...

27 comments:

  1. "Because this hapless mayor has chosen to add no additional seats at these schools, his simplistic proposal might as well be called "The Asian Removal Act.""

    Dear Bob. To follow your liberal racialist logic, had the mayor chosen to add additional seats, it still could be called "The Asian Removal Act" - for removing the "Asians" who would've filled these hypothetical additional seats otherwise.

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    1. Here Mao dog whistles the removal of Japanese to internment camps, treating Chinese and Japanese as if they were the same. There are fewer Japanese people in NYC than there are seats at Stuyvesant high school. Chinese were American allies in WWII and were not "removed" or interned in the USA.

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  2. The overwhelming majority of kids attending Stuyvesant are Asian. That said, they are also being excluded, along with kids from other demographics, because most kids cannot attend that school -- not enough places. Somerby insists that an entrance test is a valid proxy for academic performance, an arguable assertion. Then he objects to use of a different proxy, actual grades at a child's middle school. Then he accuses several folks of bad faith in addressing this selection problem, including liberals and the NY Times, because the NY Times is "upper class."

    Somerby asks whether NY City should be operating high selective high schools. There was a time when ALL high schools were optional, when students could only attend any of them by passing an entrance exam, when schooling routinely ended with 8th grade. These special New York high schools are the legacy of that time. They weren't created specially to exclude anyone, Asian or white or black. They were like colleges, aimed to provide additional education to those seeking careers requiring it (most careers didn't). The expansion of public education beyond minimal literacy encompassed those schools. Schools all over the country operated that way, not just in NYC. Blaming NYC for elitism thus seems historically ignorant. The whole prep school system filled that gap. Unlike public high schools, many other areas of the country, didn't develop prep schools.

    If the mayor's simplistic plan teems with winners and loser, is that because the mayor set it up that way? Doesn't life in general teem with winners and losers? Isn't the point of school to equalize those winners and losers so that more kids can start out on a more equal footing? How does permitting NYC's science and special high schools to remain largely Asian achieve that goal? Somerby seems to be wishing to leave those schools predominantly Asian because that is the status quo, not for any good reason. He has not justified why the selection test is better than grades for assessing performance. He has not justified why the current exclusion of black kids is more acceptable than a prospective exclusion of some Asian children. He has not explained why selecting the top 7% from each school would not be more fair than excluding everyone except a few Asian kids who are good at taking tests. He hasn't made any case, in short, except to call some people elitist and shit on the mayor.

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    1. They were like colleges, aimed to provide additional education to those seeking careers requiring it (most careers didn't). The expansion of public education beyond minimal literacy encompassed those schools.

      How old do you think the specialized high schools are? Maybe you should look that up.

      If the mayor's simplistic plan teems with winners and loser, is that because the mayor set it up that way?

      Yes.

      Doesn't life in general teem with winners and losers?

      Yes.

      Isn't the point of school to equalize those winners and losers so that more kids can start out on a more equal footing?

      No. The point of school is to teach students.

      How does permitting NYC's science and special high schools to remain largely Asian achieve that goal [of equalizing winners and losers]?

      It doesn’t.

      Somerby seems to be wishing to leave those schools predominantly Asian because that is the status quo, not for any good reason.

      No, he doesn’t. Where do you get that?

      [Somerby] has not explained why selecting the top 7% from each school would not be more fair than excluding everyone except a few Asian kids who are good at taking tests.

      No, he hasn’t. Mainly because that’s not what he writes about. But I’ll explain it for you. New York City’s middle schools follow the same model as New York City’s high schools. There are a few elite middle schools that screen applicants for academic aptitude and achievement, and there are the rest that take all comers. (God help NYC’s students: the elite middle schools look at test results of 4th graders.) The elite middle schools prepare their students for admission to the elite high schools; the other middle schools, not so much.

      But you’re right. Fuck those Asian kids. All they’re good at and good for is taking tests.

      Delete
  3. Here is an interesting discussion of the use of terms such as sexist, racist by conservatives as opposed to liberals:

    https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2019/04/do-right-wingers-really-believe-that.html

    Somerby has consistently argued that by using terms such as racist and sexist, we elected Trump. Today he has no qualms about using the E-word -- Elitist. That is another term that conservatives have used against liberals to portray us as bad people without serious concern for others. Somerby doesn't like Marcotte much, but I find her arguments interesting because I tend to agree that conservatives and Somerby both use these terms as part of a game, not because they disapprove of the behavior they describe.

    For example, how can the NY Times be elitist for challenging the elite group of Asian students who are admitted to a special school and urging broader participation? Is someone automatically elitist for attending a specific school (as Somerby himself did)? Or is elitism just a name to call others whom one dislikes? Is it an economic term or does it describe people who use big words and read Kierkegaard (and say they understand it)? Is it Hong and Kong because they can translate or is it whoever reads their work? Or does it describe the people who would never vote for Trump -- a name to tar liberals with?

    Somerby has studiously ignored the obvious criticism that too few white students are being admitted to those special NYC high schools. He perhaps knows we will figure that out ourselves if he complains about the exclusion of more deserving Asian students. The whole enterprise of setting one demographic against another is the problem, to which white Trump voters resonate, but Somerby doesn't have to point that out -- all he needs to do is complain because the mayor is selecting someone, anyone, and it isn't white people. Why must the mayor choose? Because he is a bad, elitist person who cares more about black kids than white kids, obviously. That's how conservatives play this "game." And those black kids can go hang because Somerby doesn't care about them -- but liberals do, and that is why liberals are not conservatives and Somerby is not liberal.

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    1. For example, how can the NY Times be elitist for challenging the elite group of Asian students who are admitted to a special school and urging broader participation?

      The elite are the economically and socially advantaged who can live in a bubble of their own privilege. That's not most of the Asian students you're talking about.

      Wanna try again to make sense?

      Delete
  4. This matters:

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/11/its-the-sexism-stupid-226620

    The same forces that Hillary Clinton had to overcome are now affecting the coverage, funding and polling of the various women running for president in 2020. Hillary was able to become the nominee by being hugely and obviously more qualified than any male contender, explicitly including Bernie. Now, the women who are running against Bernie and Joe and Beto and Pete are all having difficulty asserting their qualifications and programs because they are not being treated equally by the press. Because they are not as strong as Hillary was, their performance is being hurt more by the unequal treatment.

    It will be a long time before a female candidate as obviously competent as Hillary comes along again. Until then, how can women gain traction and assert their qualifications when they have to fight not only other candidates but the weight of sexism embodied by press sexism. The unfairness of our process is starkly evident in these early days -- but this is the time when drawing attention to it might correct our course and make it possible to introduce more fairness into our democratic process.

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    1. Hillary had her chance in 2008 when Democrats decided to hand unqualified Obama the nomination by shutting out entire states and berating her on msnbc. If he waited his turn, He would be president now instead of Trump. What we got was eight years of racial obsession just when things were getting better, which soured enough people on the party and caused them to vote for Trump. The same thing has happened with "sexism" and those voters aren't returning, especially for a woman candidate. The Democrats boasted about being a "Nasty Woman" and Joe Biden apologized for being white. Nobody likes them.

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  5. "The city has projected that eliminating the exam would transform the specialized schools’ demographics from about 10 percent black and Hispanic to about 45 percent, and an independent analysis found that offers to Asian-American students would drop from about 60 percent to 30 percent."

    Incidentally. What would prevent education-minded parents from sending, at exactly right moment, their 'high-performing' children (of the undesirable 'race') to 'low-performing' schools where they'll immediately rise into the "top 7%"?

    Should these 'low-performing' schools institute the policy "Asians Need Not Apply"?

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    1. They cannot "immediately" rise into the 7% because it takes time to get grades. You get them at the end of each semester of the school year.

      If a student were marginal or mediocre (necessitating some change to increase grades), it would take time for higher schools at a new school to increase the means achieved at the previous school. One number among several has a diluted influence, the less influence the more scores are being averaged.

      How can anyone seriously say "Asians Need Not Apply" when the overwhelming number of current students in such schools are Asian, way out of proportion to their demographic representation?

      The most under-represented group is probably Hispanics but oddly I don't hear any concern on their behalf.

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    2. Sorry for typo: "it would take time for higher schools" should be "higher grades"

      Delete
  6. Why is Somerby messing around with the Hong & Kong or Hanay translations when the better one is by Lowrie? As Somerby notes, he deliberately sought out one with the most ornate opening passage, because his goal was not to read Kierkegaard but to make fun of him during his comedy routine.

    "Walter Lowrie (1868-1959) played a leading role in introducing Kierkegaard to the English-speaking world as his first English-language biographer and the first English translator of more than a dozen volumes of his work. Gordon Marino is professor at St. Olaf College, specializing in History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Kierkegaard. He is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age and coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard."

    According to Wikipedia, that opening passage has been regarded by some as a deliberate satire of something written by Hegel. If it is a deliberate satire, is it right to present it to non-philosophers as representative of philosophical writing?

    Academics are trained not to engage in this kind of dishonesty. Somerby has no regard for values of academics or knowledge-workers in general (including especially journalists) so he splits hairs largely to attack people and disregards these other matters of truthful presentation.

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  7. MLK said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." So, presumably, MLK would disapprove of race-based admission standards, like DeBlasio's 7% plan.

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    1. MLK would not appreciate you putting words in his mouth.

      Delete
    2. Meh
      If MLK hadn't been killed (by a Conservative who couldn't get over the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), he'd be too busy fighting Republican voter suppression programs to speak about race-based admission standards.

      Delete
    3. He would have been against invading Iraq and lots of children wouldn't have died.

      Delete
    4. MLK was killed by a Democrat.

      Delete
    5. *** Public Service Announcement ***

      David in Cal is this commentariat’s village idiot, both morally and intellectually. There’s no right-wing propaganda he won’t swallow whole and regurgitate here. You may safely ignore anything he has to say.

      For the record, James Earl Ray worked as a volunteer for the 1968 Presidential campaign of George Wallace. Wallace was a Democrat during his time as Governor of Alabama, but he ran in 1968 as the candidate of the American Independent Party. By the time Wallace was running for President, the Dixiecrats were running for the Republican Party.

      James Earl was an avowed racist, who would have reacted to the civil rights planks of the Democratic Party platform the way a vampire would react to a cross.

      But don’t get mad at David. We don’t hold idiots to normal standards of responsibility.

      Delete
    6. ******
      David in Cal March 23, 2019 at 10:07 PM

      This is the new Democratic talking point, but it won't last long. First of all, just about nobody opposes releasing the Mueller Report - not even Trump.
      *****

      ***********
      Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

      @realDonaldTrump

      Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report, when the crime committed was by Crooked Hillary, the DNC and Dirty Cops? Attorney General Barr will make the decision!

      8:21 AM - Apr 13, 2019
      ****************

      Hey, dumb fuck DinC, how's the "talking point" holding up

      Delete
  8. Why do so many Asian students want to go to Stuyvesant? Presumably, because it’s elite and prestigious.

    The same reason thousands of black kids took the test to get into Stuyvesant: because it’s an elite, prestigious school.

    There’s nothing wrong with that.

    There’s also nothing wrong with wanting those black kids to be able to pursue their dreams and aspirations the same as those Asian, white, Hispanic, and all other kids. It is not elitist to support the aspirations of black kids who want to attend elite schools, especially since they are severely underrepresented there. That almost seems to be the opposite of elitist.

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  9. “Nothing to look at! Just move along! Our liberal tribe has behaved this way for the past fifty years...”

    Somerby is dancing around the root issue. What have liberals supported (among other things) for the past fifty years?
    Integration and affirmative action. He clearly opposes integration at the present time. That is clear from many previous posts.

    But it should be clear that he also opposes affirmative action. When he opposes the plan to do away with the test, he says that it is a lowering of standards that will hurt the specialized high schools and the higher achieving Asian students on the one hand, but will also hurt the students who are allowed in who don’t deserve to be there academically.

    The high schools gain unfit students, graduation rates might drop off, remedial classes would become necessary. The undeserving students would perform poorly and perhaps flunk or drop out.

    It should be said that these outcomes are speculative, with no data offered to support them. But they are at least arguable.

    And surely these same complaints have been made for 50+ years about the same process put in place at colleges and universities to diversify the student bodies. The accusation has always been made that standards were lowered to allow undeserving students in in the name of affirmative action.

    It’s worth noting that the same kinds of objections were made against letting that little black girl into a white school in Topeka, Kansas, or those nine black students into Little Rock Central High School: those students didn’t deserve to be there.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with being anti-affirmative action, but Somerby somehow wants to create a liberal party that opposes integration and affirmative action, and that sees these things as fifty-year mistakes.

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    1. @3:03 you know there's all the difference in the world between prohibiting someone based on her race vs. different races being included because of different abilities or interests.

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    2. It’s worth noting that the same kinds of objections were made against letting that little black girl into a white school in Topeka, Kansas.

      The little black girl was Linda Brown, and she was nine years old when Brown v Board was decided. I looked up her bio, and we just passed the one year anniversary of her death.

      If by “same objections” you mean that Linda was undeserving by reason of her failure to meet white standards, it’s very unlikely that those were raised in Topeka. Kansas was one of only a few (four, I think) states that permitted segregation, which obtained only for Topeka’s elementary schools.

      The Supreme Court combined several cases with Oliver Brown’s, and the other appellees were from South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and DC. I couldn’t find their briefs after some time spent in the google, but I don’t believe any of the arguments were based on any claims of intellectual failings of the appellants’ children. This would have undercut the appellees’ reliance on the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v Ferguson. And in the case of Kansas, the trial court found that the black and white schools were actually equal, including the curriculum and staffing.

      Appellees’ arguments were that we’ve always done it this way, bad stuff will happen if things change, state legislatures know best, the authors of the 14th Amendment didn’t contemplate integrated schools, stare decisis, and we’re protecting both races. No points for guessing which state argued that last.

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    3. And he's got plenty of evidence on his side. All of it in fact.

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  10. FYI, here are the first two steps that USnooze took in evaluating NYC high schools:
    <quote>
    STEP 1 | Students exceeded expectations in their states.
    We looked at whether each school’s relative performance in its state reading and mathematics assessments exceeded expectations, factoring in the proportion of its student body that is economically disadvantaged and projected to score lower.

    STEP 2 | Underserved students performed better than the state average.
    Next, we compared each school's reading and mathematics assessment scores among only their historically underserved students - black, Hispanic and low-income - with the average statewide results for these subgroups. We selected schools that outperformed their state averages.
    </quote>

    ReplyDelete

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