THE SEVEN PERCENT COLLUSION: Mayor de Blasio has a plan!

TUESDAY, APRIL 9, 2019

It's rich with winners and losers:
It happens every spring!

Admission offers are sent to eighth graders who want to attend Stuyvesant High, New York City's most "prestigious" and "elite" public high school.

These offers are wholly based on results from a single challenging exam. Remarkable statistics soon appear—remarkable data like these:
Admission offers to Stuyvesant High, March 2019
Asian-American students: 587
White students: 194
Hispanic students: 33
Black students: 7
Those are truly remarkable data—but then again, they aren't.

In what way are those data "truly remarkable?" The answer is obvious. Eliza Shapiro delivered the mail in a front-page report in the March 19 New York Times:
SHAPIRO (3/19/19): Though black and Hispanic students make up nearly 70 percent of New York City’s public school system as a whole, just over 10 percent of students admitted into the city’s eight specialized high schools were black or Hispanic, according to statistics released Monday by the city [no link provided]. That percentage is flat compared to last year.

Of the nearly 4,800 students admitted into the specialized schools, 190 are black...
In one obvious sense, those are amazing statistics. Based upon their total numbers within Gotham's schools, the city's black and Hispanic kids are massively "under-represented" at these eight high-powered high schools.

In that sense, the Stuyvesant admission figures are truly remarkable. But in another obvious sense, they aren't.

In another sense, those Stuyvesant figures are completely and wholly predictable. We base that statement upon data like these—data which will never be reported or discussed in the New York Times, a defiantly upper-class, pseudo-liberal newspaper:
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

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
We've shown you those data quite a few times over the course of the past several weeks. You've never seen such data in the Times, and you never will.

Those data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the highly-regarded federal program described as the "gold standard" of domestic educational testing. Those data suggest that giant achievement gaps exist between different groups of Gotham eighth-graders, both on average and at the highest achievement levels.

Once you've seen those data from the Naep, those admission figures for Stuyvesant High are completely predictable. Perhaps for that reason, you won't be told, in the New York Times, about those scores from the Naep, or about the apparent size of the achievement gaps defined by those ugly test scores.

Instead, relentless hustlers like Shapiro will go on NPR's All Things Considered and con the gullible true believers of our own liberal world. With the assistance of NPR's Ailsa Chang, Shapiro will even be willing to say such things as this:
CHANG (3/19/19): So what have been the explanations for why these stark racial disparities exist at these eight elite schools?

SHAPIRO: Yeah, so I think there's two things. The biggest issue here is test prep. We've seen the same debate with the SAT and ACT, certainly, in light of the college admissions scandal. There is a huge test prep industry in New York that prepares kids who are aware of the test to master it. So test prep is one. The other, which is related, is awareness. Some kids know about these schools from the minute they're in kindergarten. Some kids learn about the existence of the specialized high school system and the test to get into them a few months before they can sit to take the test.
For a fuller account of that interview, see yesterday's report.

In that deeply remarkable con, Shapiro seemed to say that there are two causes for the vast gap in admission offers. The gap is caused by "test prep," she said, and also by test "awareness."

No one with an ounce of sense could believe that Shapiro's presentation was anything but a con. That said, Chang—a deeply accomplished Asian-American with advanced degrees from everywhere on the face of the earth—was willing to pretend that this presentation made sense.

Truth to tell, those admission figures to Stuyvesant High represent a giant American problem. This problem exists all over the country, not just in olde New York—but there are some people in New York City who see the size and the shape of this problem as it actually exists.

New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, has proposed a plan to get more black kids into Stuyvesant. We'll be reviewing his proposal during the rest of the week, but we can already tell you this:

The mayor's plan might as well be called The Asian Removal Act. The upper-class hacks at the New York Times stand behind it heart and soul.

Some others in Gotham may not! One such person is quoted today by New York magazine's Matt Steib in a lengthy report on the way de Blasio is viewed by his Gotham constituents.

"Mayor Pete" has caught on big in the White House sweepstakes this year; "Mayor Bill" has not. Stieb notes the endless string of Gotham residents who have urged de Blasio 1) to stop going to Iowa and 2) not to run for the White House. Stieb's first example is this:
STIEB (4/9/19): Park Slope Voters

De Blasio gets a lot of flack for his frequent commutes all the way from Gracie Mansion to the Park Slope YMCA—the Times once called the gym his Camp David. But according to a WNYC report, some Park Slope voters have more serious concerns about his record on education: “Black children and people of color are still not getting a proper education,” Onilaja Waters said. “I would tell the people of the United States that this is someone who talks a progressive agenda, but what we see in New York City is very mixed.”
Uh-oh! Waters seems to be one of those people who have noticed that black kids as a group are ending up on the short end of the stick in New York City's schools.

She seems to be thinking of black kids on the whole, not just of the handful of kids who might end up at Yale. In a gruesome interview with Slate's Mary Harris, Times board member Mara Gay warned us about such people.

Why do some black office holders oppose the mayor's plan? Comically, Gay said this:
GAY (3/26/19): I think that it's a combination of not wanting to anger Asian communities, who have been quite united on this issue. But there's also the issue that, within the black community specifically, there's not a single line of thinking about integration. And a lot of people are focused on bettering, so to speak, all the schools, or maybe integration isn't a priority for them. I feel very strongly about integration, but not everyone does.
A lot of people want to better all the schools! Comically, Gay seemed to admit that she isn't one of those people!

As noted, the achievement gaps involving black kids are observed all over the country. There's no reason to think that Mayor de Blasio would have any idea what to do to address those punishing gaps. Nor is there any particular sign that he actually cares.

That said, it's perfectly clear that the New York Times doesn't care about the vast bulk of New York City's black kids. At the Times, they seem to care about the only black kids who actually matter—those kids who might end up at Yale.

We're going to spend the rest of the week looking at Mayor de Blasio's plan, which has sometimes been called "the seven percent solution."

In an open act of collusion, the New York Times has endorsed the plan. In a way which is completely unnecessary, it's rich with winners and losers.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. The mayor's plan is a low-IQ mess.

The New York Times is all in on that mess. Tomorrow, its winners and losers.

Tomorrow: High-achievers like NPR's Chang, please report to the door!

30 comments:

  1. "And a lot of people are focused on bettering, so to speak, all the schools, or maybe integration isn't a priority for them. I feel very strongly about integration, but not everyone does.
    A lot of people want to better all the schools! Comically, Gay seemed to admit that she isn't one of those people!"

    Gay isn't saying she doesn't want to better all of the schools. She is saying that integration is a priority for her.

    Somerby is being unfair here. Further, integrating schools and bettering them may not be in opposition to each other.

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "Truth to tell, those admission figures to Stuyvesant High represent a giant American problem."

    Meh. It's only a problem because race-mongering dembots (a-la Eliza Shapiro) use vulgar 'race'-based statistics to incite 'race'-based animosity, in order to help their globalist bosses stay in power.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, there are so many candidates for the most ignorant, uninformed poster on the internet from the political right, and I don't have time to look at many of them (I have better things to do with my time), but you must be near the top.

      Delete
    2. Whoa. Thank you for your generous endorsement, dembot.

      I'll frame it and put it on my nightstand.

      Delete
  3. There is no reason why the bulk of black kids cannot be a focus while also helping that handful of black kids who might attend yale. This is not an either-or tradeoff. Both groups can be helped and should be helped.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Unfortunately the people who could help them, their parents, have no intention of doing so and rely on Democrat excuses to defend their decisions.

      Delete
    2. Lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations is the only solution.

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    3. Yes, all those parents are deliberately withholding help from their kids in order to prevent them from doing well in school, just to hear those Democrat excuses.

      Delete
    4. "their parents'.
      You mean the folks who have been so stiffed by business for their labor the last 40+ years, they have to work multiple jobs to pay their bills?
      Do you suggest they quit one of their jobs and go into debt so they can focus on educating their children?

      Delete
    5. What? And Barry the Demigod did nothing to help those good folks? Ay-ay-ay.

      Bad, bad dembot. No biscuit.

      Delete
    6. All these parents are producing their children out of wedlock knowing they will be ignored. Baby daddy was a rolling stone. Not a single suggestion that those households be examined for competence as a way of finding out why Jamika can't read.

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    7. Percentage of students from low-income families, Grade 8 math
      New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
      White students: 38%
      Black students: 72%
      Hispanic students: 78%
      Asian-American students: 70%

      Percentage achieving proficiency, annual New York State math exam
      Grade 8, New York City Public Schools, 2018
      Asian-American students: 72%
      White students: 64%
      Black students: 25%

      Delete
  4. Is Somerby perhaps attacking de Blasio because he will be running against Bernie?

    If these gaps exist all over the country, why single out De Blasio for trying to do something to help? Why complain that he does not care when he is at least trying to do something.

    For that matter, what is Bernie's grand solution to the achievement gap problem? By all accounts, he doesn't believe in disaggregating NAEP scores, since that would be "identity politics". How might Somerby reconcile his preferred candidate's non-approach to the problems of beautiful black children with his strong dislike of candidates such as De Blasio, who at least is trying to do something to help. Somerby seems to resolve this paradox by accusing De Blasio of race-pandering. Who else does this? Conservatives. They consider any interest in helping black kids to be virtue signaling and racial politics -- no one can genuinely care about improving the lives of black children, after all.

    Somerby has graduated from being an ass to being actual scum.

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  5. Suppose we're all in a lifeboat after an unfortunate accident at sea. There's water in the bottom of the boat, and de Blasio has a plan to drill holes in the boat to let the water out. I can just hear @10:48's cry: "At least he's trying to do something!"

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    1. What do you think about deBlasio’s implementation of universal pre-K? What is your opinion of the details of the Renewal plan?

      Delete
    2. Universal pre-K is a good idea. I don't know anything about renewal but it sounded good too. School infrastructure needs more investment. I wouldn't blame De Blasio for resistance to funding his plans.

      Delete
    3. Deadrat, there is no evidence that De Blasio was drilling holes in the bottom of the boat -- e.g., doing things that would set back rather than advance education goals in NYC.

      Swapping out a few black kids for Asian kids in the special high schools seems neutral in terms of its impact on anything education-related, although it could make a big difference for the black kids involved. The Asian kids won't be harmed, depending on their family circumstances, but the numbers do suggest there is a fairness issue when the very large majority of the kids selected all come from the same demographic and black kids who might benefit (e.g., who are borderline for acceptance) are turned away.

      I assume they have a wait list -- that is another procedure for dealing with almost-accepted kids in situations of scarcity of seats.

      Refusal to recognize that black kids (and some others) face additional obstacles that prevent them from scoring as highly on an admission test and thus should be given some additional consideration strikes me as not only wrong and unfair but racially motivated. Extra time is permitted on exams for those with learning disabilities and kids with physical disabilities get aides, but kids with social and economic disabilities are told to go hang -- what is fair about that?

      There have been movies, books and magazine articles written about the efforts of NYC parents to get their kids into the right preschools, so that they will be eligible for the best private schools, so that they can then apply for the best prep schools and get into the Ivy leagues. This happens too with parents who aim for the best middle schools and special high schools, so that they can get their kids into the most selective colleges. It is the same game. If your parents play that game, the child benefits. If not, the child must struggle along with all the other white, Asian and black children whose parents are not aware of the need for test prep and preschool and books in the home and summer camps and educational toys and so on. A black child who is nearly competitive without these advantages should be given a second look, even if he or she might displace an Asian child who has been nurtured from birth to succeed academically. Because it isn't the child's fault what environment he or she is born into and even black kids without advantages deserve a chance to maximize their potential. That Asian kid is still going to get into college. The black kid is more in doubt and needs the encouragement.

      Socialism is "from each according to their means, to each according to their needs." Bernie should be in favor of helping the black kids based on that maxim. Somerby seems to be "first come, first served, he who can grab the most goodies gets to keep them and doesn't have to share, I got mine, you can go whistle for yours, etc."

      Delete
    4. Comrade @12:40P,

      Congratulations! You have been mentioned with favor in dispatches to the Central Committee.

      The maxim "from each according to their means, to each according to their needs” did indeed originate with a French socialist politician, but it became the motto of communism when our glorious Karl Marx endorsed it in his 1875 missive Kritik des Gothaer Programms

      It is in that document that Marx outlines the operation of der Diktatur des Proletariats and warns that

      "Elementary education by the state" is altogether objectionable. Government and church should rather be equally excluded from any influence on the school.… [T]he state has need, on the contrary, of a very stern education by the people.

      And I’m sure you know what he means by “stern.”

      Delete
    5. Comrade @12:40P,

      Swapping out a few black kids for Asian kids in the special high schools seems neutral in terms of its impact on anything education-related,

      You can’t even keep your ill-reasoned metaphors straight. I think you mean that swapping out a few Asian kids for black kids seems neutral to you.

      although it could make a big difference for the black kids involved. The Asian kids won't be harmed,….

      Why the difference should be high for a black kid, and negligible for an Asian kid is beyond me, but fuck those Asian kids. You’re probably better off arguing at the aggregate, societal level.

      I assume they have a wait list -- that is another procedure for dealing with almost-accepted kids in situations of scarcity of seats.

      No, there’s no wait list. The system uses a so-called “two-sided deferred-acceptance matching algorithm.” The students choose up to 12 high-school programs they’re interested in and rank their choices in order of preference. The schools rank the students up to their available seats, accepting the ones above the cutoff and rejecting those below. For the SHSAT schools, the ranking is simply the test score. The students receive an offer from their top choice from among the schools that have accepted them. Those with offers are taken off the list, and the process is repeated with the rejected students, using the next school on the students’ preference lists. As per usual, the music stops when all the seats have been taken.

      The schools know which students are interested in them, but not where they stand in the students’ order of preference.

      Extra time is permitted on exams for those with learning disabilities and kids with physical disabilities get aides, but kids with social and economic disabilities are told to go hang -- what is fair about that?

      So what is it, extra time on exams or aides for black students? Or is it both?

      A black child who is nearly competitive without these advantages should be given a second look, even if he or she might displace an Asian child who has been nurtured from birth to succeed academically.

      Yeah, fuck those Asian kids nurtured from birth. Who do they think they are anyway?

      By the way, NYC runs something called “the Discovery Program,” which sends low-income 9th graders from high-poverty schools who just missed the SHSAT cutoffs. This is a summer program, and those who complete it are admitted to the specialized high schools. By 2020, twenty percent of the seats in the specialized high schools will be reserved for DP graduates. This year it’s about twelve percent. DP graduates this year hoping to get into Stuyvesant essentially got a score boost of about 80 to 90 points on the SHSAT.

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    6. Deadrat, the problem is that this is zero sum.

      All your nitpicks don't change anything substantial about anyone's arguments here. Why make them?

      No one wants to disadvantage Asian kids. That is Somerby's crap. But it seems pretty obvious from the numbers that African American kids are not getting a fair chance.

      Instead of accusing people who raise that point of shitting on Asian kids, why not address the actual problem that black kids are facing?

      The Discovery program sounds like a good idea. Why didn't Somerby mention it? Why are you only just mentioning it now?

      Delete
    7. "Instead of accusing people who raise that point of shitting on Asian kids, why not address the actual problem that black kids are facing?"

      According to you the problem they're facing is that they're not being shoved into slots they don't qualify for because Asians are unfairly dominating because of their unfair nurturing.

      It's a safe bet that you've never socially pressured the non-nurturing mothers and fathers failing at raising (abusing) black kids who might have the raw material to win those slots.

      Asian kids living in poverty still achieve proficiency because they benefit from parents socially pressured to nurture them academically and who successfully shield their kids from the victim mentality imposed by the left.

      Delete
    8. @10:48,

      Surely some of the problem is that the system is zero sum. It’s not clear to me how much.

      <shrug>
      One person’s nitpick is another rat’s cogent criticism.
      </shrug>

      Why do I make my comments? It’s my time, and if you don’t mind, I’ll waste it how I want. And even if you do mind.

      I doubt few people in this discussion, here or in NYC, have any conscious desire to disadvantage Asian kids. It’s TDH’s shtick to judge people by the results of their actions. If your plans to fix the racial imbalance involve tossing Asian kids out of the specialized high schools, then TDH is gonna say, judging by results, that’s what you must want.

      That’s pretty much a rhetorical trope that I’ve learned to ignore as provocation. And certainly his charge of “sliming Asian kids and their families” is just nonsense.

      why not address the actual problem that black kids are facing?

      Who, me or TDH? I’m just a guy who makes fun of fools in the comments section of a little-read blog. Why would I know anything about addressing any actual problems? If you’re wondering about TDH, ask him.

      Why didn’t TDH mention the Discovery Program? How would I know? I’m not Somerby. Really, truly. And I didn’t mention the program until now because I just found out about it as I spent time in the google. I’m sorry I’m late, but I don’t work for you.

      Delete
  6. “The mayor's plan might as well be called The Asian Removal Act.”

    It would seem that Somerby’s “musings on the mainstream press” somehow includes taking an editorial stand against a plan that has been proposed by the mayor of New York City, a non-media person, and a prominent Democrat.

    Can we put to rest the notion that Somerby is functioning solely as a media critic these days?

    “There's no reason to think that Mayor de Blasio would have any idea what to do to address those punishing gaps.”

    I have mentioned deBlasio’s other education initiatives, such as his implementation of universal pre-K in NYC (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/nyregion/de-blasio-universal-pre-k.html). This is an idea that is widely considered to be an extremely good one that can have a major impact on academic achievement by reducing achievement gaps. Anyone interested can look at all the research surrounding this. His “renewal” program, while considered unsuccessful, contains many good ideas, if anyone cares to look at it.

    What does Somerby think will fix the achievement gaps if he thinks these things will not? He has supplied no ideas at all. Does he think universal pre-K is useless? All the research says it can be extremely helpful. It’s easy to criticize someone who is tasked with trying to solve problems when you yourself never suggest any ideas that would definitely certainly fix the achievement gaps. And insulting that person to boot.

    Finally, look around at other cities. Many have similar “elite” high schools, but many use a test in combination with other factors to ensure broader opportunity.

    And look around: the black-white achievement gap is large nationwide, whether you look at urban areas or states, be they blue or red. Where is the “fix” for the problem?

    Note for the comprehension challenged: I am neither a DeBlasio supporter nor detractor. You decide based on my comment if I am a “neo-Liberal” or “pseudoliberal”. I am in no way “elite.” I reject these kinds of labels because they are a barrier to honest debate.

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    1. Why do we assume that the fix in in the schools or with the right plan?
      The majority of the fix lies in the homes of the students, which are currently not a conducive environment for kids to get the desire to learn.

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    2. Under the current socioeconomic conditions, there is no "fix".

      In a class society there's always going to be underclass. And in underclass 'homes' the environment is conducive for only one kind of learning: learning to survive the underclass environment. Naturally.

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    3. @11:35 IMHO it's a a real problem when a large number of American Adults are substantially deficient in reading and mathematics, regardless of their ethnicity. These skills are essential for full participation in American life, not to mention knowledge of history, civics, logical reasoning, etc. When asking what can be done about it, one first needs to ask, by whom?.

      Parents are perhaps the ones could do the most, if they emulated Ben Carson’s mother, Sonya Carson. "According to Carson, his mother devised a plan for her sons to curb TV time and write two book reports a week instead. Working as a domestic for successful families, she had noticed that they read far more than they watched television. The required book reports were turned in to Sonya who would mark them up with checkmarks and highlights." But, what will convince more parents to aggressively promote learning?

      The local schools are the obvious ones to solve the problem. After all, it's their responsibility to educate each child. G.W. Bush tried to promote this process with his Head Start program. This program forced schools to devote extra effort to lagging students. However, the plan was not structured well, and teachers didn't like it.

      Universal preschool strikes me as a non-optimal effort. It's very expensive and it may not even work. Studies of Head Start show varying results. E.g., US News and World Report wrote and article, Report: Scant Scientific Evidence for Head Start Programs' Effectiveness. A review of 90 studies found only one that met scientific muster, and it showed disappointing results. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/08/03/report-scant-scientific-evidence-for-head-start-programs-effectiveness

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  7. Quick question: What is Bernie’s plan to fix achievement gaps?

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    1. From what I can find using Google, Bernie's plans are largely centered on free college tuition and financial aid. He gives lip service to early childhood education but has no specific proposals about it. He is focused on the college level, where the young voters are.

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