Lester bungles Brown too: We saw the report near the end of last night's 11th Hour.
Brian Williams was killing one segment by re-airing a taped report from NBC Nightly News. Hour earlier, Lester Holt had aired the report for a much larger audience.
The report was filed by Rehema Ellis. It concerned the historic Brown decision, whose 65th anniversary has recently occurred.
It could have been a decent report had it been given more time. Also, had it been prepared by actual people who actually know about public schools and who might actually care.
Instead, the report was filed by the kinds of people who draw their massive salaries for our network "news" behemoths. (You aren't allowed to know how large those salaries are.)
And so it came to pass! After flying past some fascinating elements of American history, Ellis attempted to state a fact—a fact which was offered in support of a Preferred Tribal Claim.
First, she spoke to some high schools kids in Topeka, from whence the Brown decision sprang. After that, she inevitably bungled a fact:
ELLIS (5/17/19): Today, Topeka High School is very different than it was [in 1954]:To watch the report, click here.
CRISTINA DE LA ISLA, TOPEKA HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE: I learn many different things from other types of people, like sexual orientation, race, just—gender, everything.
CONNOR HARRIS, TOPEKA HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Together we form a better, like, a better group, rather than separated.
ELLIS: But it's not all better. Recently, segregation for black students has expanded in most of the country. The number of mostly black schools more than tripled between 1988 and 2016.
Those statistics only appeared on the screen. Taken together with Ellis' statement, they seemed to say that 18.2% of the nation's public schools are now "mostly black."
That claim struck as highly unlikely. Hence, today's report!
For ourselves, we would have liked to hear more from those Topeka high school kids. (Cristina appeared to be Hispanic. Connor was plainly "white.")
But Ellis hurried on to a mandated tribal claim. Public school "segregation" is getting worse—perhaps much worse, she said.
This mandated claim enters the bloodstream through UCLA's "Civil Rights Project," a leading example of the realm which future scholars now sadly describe as Professoriate Down. More on that syndrome in the next few weeks.
On screen, the Civil Rights Project was cited as the source of those improbable statistics, according to which we were told that 18.2% of the nation's public schools are now "mostly black."
That presentation struck us as unlikely, and so we decided to check. When we did, the usual answer came up—Ellis had bungled her one attempt at stating a basic fact.
The numbers she cited do in fact come from UCLA's recent report about the legacy of Brown. We refer to the gloomily titled report, Harming Our Common Future: America’s Segregated Schools 65 Years after Brown.
For the record, Brown outlawed legal (de jure) segregation. American schools aren't "segregated" in that sense today.
(A basic frame of reference: UCLA tends to use the fraught term "segregation" in a way which resembles William Barr's use of the fraught term "spying.")
That said, Preferred Tribal Scripting must sometimes start with a small sleight of hand. And sure enough! When we found the source of Ellis' claim, we found that she had misstated UCLA's data.
For the record, this is what's done on network news by vastly overpaid people who have never spent a day in their lives trying to understand the actual state of our actual public schools. Instead, they tend to work from script—from familiar tribal narratives which run on mandated claims.
As you can see below, Ellis misstated the basic data. Beyond that, no one on network news, or on MSNBC, will ever attempt to report and explain the actual state of affairs.
Here's the passage Ellis bungled. More on this passage below:
UCLA REPORT (page 21): TRENDS IN SEGREGATIONPlainly, this is the passage Ellis bungled. But this passage doesn't say that 18.2% of the nation's schools are "mostly black." It says something a bit more complex, something which may seem even worse:
Having seen the tremendous changes that continue to take place among the public school enrollment, we now turn to understanding how those students are sorted among public schools. One way to measure segregation is through the concentration of non-white students in schools. Figure 3 shows the percentage of intensely segregated schools, that is schools that enroll 90-100% non-white students or 90-100% white students. Since the peak of desegregation for black students in 1988, the share of intensely segregated minority schools, that is, schools that enroll 90-100% non-white students, has more than tripled from 5.7% in 1988 to 18.2% in 2016. During the same time period, the share of intensely segregated white schools, that is, schools that enroll 90-100% white students, has declined from 38.9% in 1988 to 16% in 2016...
That passage—the passage Ellis instantly bungled—says that 18.2% of the nation's public schools have student enrollments which are 90-100% non-white. In the lexicon of the Civil Rights Project, these schools are "intensely segregated."
Many of those schools are not "mostly black"—but all those schools are very heavily "non-white." Stating the obvious, those are quite different states of affairs.
Might we start with an obvious point? It's typical of people like Ellis, Williams and Holt that the one statistical claim they choose to make in a fleeting report of this type will be flatly bungled—will just plain be wrong.
The reason for this is obvious. None of these people have spent ten seconds wondering or learning about the actual racial and ethnic demographics of our actual public schools. Homey simply don't play it that way within orgs like NBC News.
They don't care about piffle like that! Last night's report wasn't put on the air to inform the public about actual facts. It was put on the air for purposes of "virtue signalling" and narrative endorsement—to let viewers know that very good people like Lester and Brian are opposed to "segregation," just like the viewers are.
Lester and Brian are opposed to segregation! They're also devoted to cashing their checks and filling the airwaves with fluff.
Along comes Ellis! She's asked to pretend that she knows, and cares about, whatever it is she's discussing.
Did Ellis know that her statement was false—that it seemed implausible on its face? We have no idea.
Did her claim sound unlikely to Lester or Brian? Readers, please! Lester and Brian don't know squat about any of this!
This brings us to an important question. Assuming that UCLA's data are accurate, why has the reported change occurred? Why is it that 18.2 percent of our public schools are are now so heavily non-white? Why is it up from 5.7 percent? And why should the public care?
Why are so many more schools now so heavily non-white? There are several parts to the answer, but the answer must start with this:
UCLA REPORT (page 4): White students are now a minority across the country’s public school enrollment, and they have been for a while, particularly in the public schools of the nation’s two largest regions, the West and the South. Since 1968 the nation’s enrollment of white students has declined by 11 million students while the enrollment of Latinos has increased by 11 million. There are now nearly three million Asian students and two million students who identify as multiracial...Latino students were 5% of U.S. enrollment in 1970 and 26% by 2016.Duh. Using the dates Ellis cited, white kids were 68.8% of the student population in 1988. That number had dropped to 48.4% by 2016. (See the graphic on UCLA's page 16.)
According to that same graphic, Latino and Asian-American kids were 14.8% of the student population in 1988. That number had risen to 31.8% in 2016.
In short, there were many more "non-white" kids in American public schools as of 2016! This is one part of a real explanation of the rise in heavily "non-white" schools.
The changes we've cited don't fully explain the large number of schools which are more than 90% non-white. To add more meat to the bones of a partial explanation, consider the recent demographics of the Detroit Public Schools, according to Stanford's Sean Reardon:
Student demographics, Detroit Public SchoolsBy the nature of this district's enrollment, it's possible that every school in the system would be "intensely segregated"—would be almost wholly non-white.
White kids: 3 percent
Black kids: 87 percent
Hispanic kids: 7 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent
There are very few white kids in Detroit's public schools! Down in Laredo, there are even fewer:
Student demographics, Laredo ISDNone of this district's schools are "mostly black." All are completely "non-white."
White kids: 0 percent
Black kids: 0 percent
Hispanic kids: 99 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent
The point we're making is simple. Racial imbalance within our schools is often the result of enrollment patterns in our large urban school systems. This is even true in New York City, where only 14% of the students are white and the New York Times is baffled by the amount of "segregation."
Lester didn't tell you any of that last evening. Instead, he sent Ellis out to report on "segregation" in public schools—and the one statistical claim she attempted she got flatly wrong.
That happened for an obvious reason—these massively overpaid people don't care about public schools.
They care about virtue signalling and adherence to narrative. They care about makeup and hair. They care about Q ratings.
They care about their very large checks. They care about sticking to easy story-lines on the extremely rare occasions when they talk about public schools.
Brian aired the segment last night because it made his job easier. It also let him signal his virtue. Brian opposes segregation, just the way you do!
Last night, we heard about NBC's report from several anthropologists. Somewhat surprisingly, they told us how the pseudo-liberal world would react to our own report.
"The pseudo-liberal always loved reports of the type Ellis aired," one despondent future scholar despairingly told us. "They liked the way reports of that type made them feel.
"They won't begin to see the point of what you're trying to say," we were told. "This is what we humans were like the years before Mister Trump's War."
Ellis in the past: We feel sure that Rehema Ellis is a very good person. That said, the last time we saw her report on schools, she authored one of the most egregious groaners ever. To recall what she said, just click here.
As always, she was advancing the corporate message. In those days, the message was this:
Our public school teachers are no damn good with their ratty teachers unions.
NBC was very big on that message back then. This is the way we humans behaved as we tumbled towards Mister Trump's War.