Some versus all, two ways: This was going to be the day when we discussed those studies of school voucher programs.
Is it possible? Do low-income kids end up doing worse when they get to attend "better" schools through the use of vouchers? When they don't have to stay in their ratty, inferior public schools with their ratty, unionized teachers?
Do kids end up doing worse when they receive vouchers? According to this recent report in the New York Times, that's what three recent studies have shown.
Why might kids end up doing worse when they get to attend "better schools?" We had planned to offer one possible answer today. For reasons we'll explain below, we've decided to postpone.
The report appeared in the New York Times on February 24. As liberals, you haven't heard a word about it, because 1) no one actually cares about the lives of low-income kids, certainly no one Over Here; and 2) because we liberals are currently on one of our moral stampedes. There's no time for anything else!
More on our current stampede next week. We'll also postpone our report about vouchers until this because of a letter which appears in today's Washington Post.
The letter appears beneath this headline: "Don't blame all millennials." We certainly agree with that plea. But what makes this letter so great?
In yesterday's award-winning report, we discussed the problem we humans have negotiating the baffling distinction between the puzzling concepts "some" and "all." Along came this letter, which frisks some-versus-all two different ways, while adding a classic third point!
The letter isn't long; we agree with its basic sentiment. Here it is, headline included:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (3/4/17): Don't blame all millennialsOur analysts loved that letter! It starts by making a perfectly accurate point:
The Feb. 15 news article “Millennials eclipse teens as worst drivers on the road, AAA study finds” was problematic.
First, the headline and article identified the group studied as “millennials,” whose members are normally identified as those born between roughly 1982 and 1994. However, the age range given in the article was 19 to 24, meaning the study and article should have noted that some millennials, but not all, were implicated.
The study was based on answers to a questionnaire regarding driving habits—not driving enforcement numbers. It is possible then that drivers ages 19 through 24 were more willing to admit to driving infractions than those in other age groups, not necessarily that they committed more infractions than others.
The news report in question concerns a study which fingers only one group of millennials, those aged 19-24. To review the original news report, you can just click here.
The news report savaged the crazy reckless behavior of people aged 19-24. But uh-oh! That age group contains some millennials, not all! According to the letter, the Post's problematic news report should have pointed that out.
So far, the letter writer is on solid ground. The problematic news report concerned some millennials, not all.
On the other hand, the writer seems to stumble over these concepts himself! You can't blame all people aged 19-24 for the driving infractions in question. Only some respondents in that age group copped to such conduct, not all!
Quite correctly, the writer didn't want to see all millennials thrown under the bus for the actions of some. But just like that, he seemed to back his own bus over all people aged 19-24!
(Based upon an extensive study, the letter writer seems to hail from an older "generation.")
Some-versus-all may seem like a simple distinction. That said, it gives us humans an amazing amount of trouble. That includes us humans Over Here within our liberal tents.
In recent years, we've frequently noted a tendency which widely obtains when we conduct our liberal moral stampedes. Here's how the stampede goes down:
Someone conducts a study, survey or poll, or possibly speaks to three people. In the study, 60 percent of conservatives cop to some racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic or all-around awful belief.
By way of contrast, only 40 percent of us liberals cop to the belief.
Instead of noting an obvious fact—there's more overlap than difference among the two groups, at least within the parameters of the study—we liberals hop in our sleek sports cars and roar down a different road:
We tend to turn our "somes" into "alls!" We announce that the study shows that We are the good and decent people, while They are deranged and bad Over There. Because our score was better, we announce that We're good. Full stop!
Our weak liberal minds adore that play; we make it all the time. And by the way, note what today's letter writer does in his final paragraph.
Sure enough! The writer casts about in the water looking for tribal escape. In a way which is perfectly valid, he finds a way to suggest that the group the Post assailed may really be best of all:
"The study was based on answers to a questionnaire regarding driving habits—not driving enforcement numbers. It is possible then that drivers ages 19 through 24 were more willing to admit to driving infractions than those in other age groups, not necessarily that they committed more infractions than others."
It's possible that drivers aged 19 through 24 are actually morally best! It may be that they're most likely to tell the truth, not that their driving is worst!
That suggestion is perfectly valid, of course. From all this, we'll draw one conclusion concerning assessment of groups:
Moral stampedes are morally bad. More on this topic next week.
Also next week: Why might kids end up doing worse if they go to a "better" school? The imagination of the Times seemed limited on that point.