GAPS AND MAN AT YALE: Less than twenty miles to the south!


Part 3—The gaps of Fairfield County:
The microaggressions of Yale University have come to play a recurrent role in our national discourse concerning matters of race.

There was the microaggression contained within the email about the Halloween costumes. Not long after that, there was the microaggression within the speech about free speech, which led to the fiery spitting incident.

Other microaggressions have been discussed, some of which were maybe perhaps more worth discussing that others. A few weeks ago, we finally faced the microaggression in which a slumbering graduate student was asked by a campus policeman to produce her Yale ID. This led to the essay at Slate which ran beneath these headlines:
“We Need to Make Sure You Belong Here”
On being black in the white space of Yale.
In the headline, as in the essay, we find the type of jargonized tribal language which helps alienate progressives and liberals from many voters. That said, we'll have to say that the writer's descriptions of "unequal treatment" at Yale didn't strike us as hugely egregious, at least as described, though it would be a much better world if young people never had to feel that they were being perceived or assessed on the basis of so-called race.

True story! When we read about the graduate student and watched the videotape of the incident, we recalled the time when we ourselves were ordered, by a gun-wielding campus policemen, to go into our own dorm room and produce our own student ID. It was our very first weekend in college. The campus policemen seemed very old, and yes, we had to assume that his weapon was loaded.

We'll guess he wanted to make sure we belonged there, we thoughtfully said to ourselves. At any rate, perhaps because of our own worldly experience, the latest horror stories from Yale haven't strike us as completely horrendous. Of course, that also may be because we also thought of the arguable "macro"-aggressions which routinely occur just twenty miles down I-95 from Yale's micro-laden campus.

We'll admit it! We thought of the macroaggressions—and of the gaps—of Connecticut's Fairfield County! And when we thought of the problems of Fairfield County, the microaggressions of Yale University no longer seemed quite so bad.

The achievement gaps of Fairfield County are extremely large. That said, you rarely hear about such topics in the leafy pages of Slate, or from those who've been forced to endure the hardships of life at Yale.

The macroaggressions of Fairfield County can largely be found in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which at the time of the 2010 census was, if only by a whisker, the largest city in the state. (Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Stamford vie rather closely for this distinction. None are huge cities by national standards, but they're all rich with large gaps.)

Bridgeport is a low-income city located next to a wealthy suburb. The suburb in question is Fairfield, Connecticut, gateway to New Canaan.

Bridgeport and Fairfield sit side-by-side. Two years ago, Elizabeth Harris and Kristin Hussey set the scene at the start of a front-page report in the New York Times:
HARRIS (9/11/16): The two Connecticut school districts sit side by side along Long Island Sound. Both spend more than the national average on their students. They prepare their pupils for the same statewide tests. Their teachers, like virtually all the teachers in the state, earn the same high marks on evaluations.

That is where the similarities end: In Fairfield, a mostly white suburb where the median income is $120,000, 94 percent of students graduate from high school on time. In Bridgeport, the state’s most populous and one of its poorest cities, the graduation rate is 63 percent. Fifth graders in Bridgeport, where most people are black or Hispanic, often read at kindergarten level, one of their teachers recently testified during a trial over school funding inequities.
As is often the case in such matters, this Times report was pegged to a court case—in this instance, to a trial concerning school funding issues. (You've never heard anyone say a word about how that case turned out!)

A trial was underway concerning funding issues. That said, where are the "macro"-aggressions in this tale of two communities?

So a reader might sensibly ask. A bit later on, Harris offered this, among other possibilities:
HARRIS: Harding High School, a once-grand red brick building now long past its heyday, sits on Central Avenue in Bridgeport. Ground has been broken on a new $106 million school nearby, on a site of a former General Electric plant.

But for now, the school’s 1,100 students make do with crumbling walls, peeling paint and classrooms that on Friday were sweltering. By late morning, teachers and students mopped sweat from their faces as they marched through the building.

Finding and keeping qualified teachers, especially those certified to teach math and science, is a
"Is a what?" you might sensibly ask. We can't help you with that one today. Nexis and both end that paragraph there!

Do the kids of Bridgeport, in Fairfield County, really face "macro"-aggressions? You're unlikely to see such questions addressed in the leafy pages of Slate.

You won't hear about their minor problems when you watch your favorite cable shows. You see, the children of Bridgeport don't count.

Few Yale grads appear in Slate discussing those kids and their problems. For today, let's outline the achievement gaps which could even be viewed as a macroaggression in a world whose overwrought elites cared.

Yesterday afternoon, the executives of abandoined therir afternoon mah-jong game to help us detail the geography. Bridgeport is 19.9 miles down the coast from New Haven, these experts reported. It's 20.4 miles south of Yale if you take the scenic route.

You can almost see Bridgeport from Yale! Fairfield is a leafy suburb one more town to the south.

We've now positioned the players, including the next-door neighbors on whom Harris reported. But uh-oh! According to Professor Reardon's nationwide study, the student populations of the two school districts at issue looked like this a few years back, Grade 3 through Grade 8:
Student population, Grades 3-8
Bridgeport Public Schools

White kids: 8 percent
Black kids: 41 percent
Hispanic kids: 48 percent
Asian-American kids: 5 percent

Median family income: $40,000

Fairfield Public Schools
White kids: 84 percent
Black kids: 2 percent
Hispanic kids: 7 percent
Asian-American kids: 7 percent

Median family income: $158,000
There you see it! These communities are next-door neighbors, twenty miles down the coast.

With those data, we've outlined the basic lay of the land. Now we'll show you the gaps, as best we can manage, from Professor Reardon's study:
Where the average student stood
Bridgeport Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

White kids: 0.7 years below grade level
Black kids: 1.9 years below grade level
Hispanic kids: 1.9 years below grade level

Fairfield Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

All students: 2.0 years above grade level
Those are Reardon's numbers, as derived from the New York Times graphics to which we link once again.

We can't disaggregate the Fairfield numbers. But the average student among all the district's kids was 2.0 years above grade level, according to Reardon's data.

Right next door, in Bridgeport, the average black or Hispanic student was 1.9 years below grade level. As such, that average student in Fairfield was 3.9 years ahead of the average black or Hispanic student in Bridgeport, right next door.

That's a 3.9 year achievement gap—at the start of sixth grade!

A overwrought progressive could almost call those numbers a record of macroaggression. In our view, such fiery language tends to shed a lot more heat than light, but you needn't worry:

You're unlikely to see or hear any such language about Bridgeport's kids from the students of Yale. Beyond that, you can safely go to Slate today without any fear of being bored by talk of the gaps of Fairfield County. Nor will Rachel or Lawrence depart from their scripts to talk about any such topic at any point in the next year.

We quit on such topics a long time ago. Today's corporate liberals don't care!

Good decent kids in Bridgeport, Connecticut are getting a rather tough break at the start of life. But people! Someone looked sideways at someone at Yale! We progressives can't fairly be asked to focus on every injustice!

Tomorrow: Possibilities of "desegregation." Also, the whole darn state!

Coming Friday: On to Clark Atlanta


  1. There was the microaggression contained within the email about the Halloween costumes. Not long after that, there was the microaggression within the speech about free speech, which led to the fiery spitting incident.

    It's all so tiresome. We're constantly told of the wonders of diversity; it's our greatest strength! Yet, in actual reality, our wondrous diversity is the cause of endless strife, and is turning all of our institutions into ridiculous clowncars. That article you linked is quite something. If the people involved were in kindergarten, it'd be an amusing tale a grandmother might relate to a friend. But this happened with actual adults at Yale University, which presumes to be one of our foremost institutions of higher learning.

    "Diversity" is a plague. Literally. Our society would have been far better off if millions of plague-infested rats had shown up at our shore instead of millions third-world denizens who share no cultural or ethnic similarity with us. These people are here simply because their presence makes it easier for the plutocrats to divide and conquer the masses. "Diversity is our greatest strength" is nothing but idiotic propaganda aimed at fooling us into destroying ourselves.

    1. Your comments could have come from the racists WASPs who fretted about all the “wrong” people who emigrated to the US during the late 1800s/early 1900s, as well as the black people who emigrated north after the civil war. Don’t you have any shame?

    2. The WASPs were right. They ended up overrun and our country is now a rotting husk. All our institutions -the legislature, the courts, the schools, the corporations, the media- are utterly unsalvageable.

    3. Are you suggesting that we toss all those with German, Italian, and Irish heritage out of the country?

    4. What's your basis for comparing Germans, Italians, and Irish to Africans and Mestizos?

    5. 8:52,
      11:34's whining about diversity being a plague.

  2. Here's more good writing by Josh Marshall:

  3. What do you do with a high school student who's reading at third grade level? You can't put him back in class with third graders. You can't put him in any sort of normal high school class.

    And, how did someone reading at 3rd grade level get into high school? Evidently social promotion is normal. But, while I can criticize social promotion, I don't know a good alternative.

    This is a huge problem. But, as Bob points out, having more white students in the class will not solve the problem.

    1. Bob points out nothing. He just asserts without proof or any attempt at reasoning.

    2. No, the huge problem is spelled G-O-P. Trump is merely emblematic of the problem.


  4. As for the gaps question, note that even in Bridgeport where whites are a very small minority and their education is being held back by low-IQ blacks and mestizos, they are still reading more or less at grade level. Overwhelmingly, schools are as good as their students. There are no "good schools" filled to the gills with blacks. You could staff them with nothing but Nobel Prize winners, and their outcomes would still be poor, in terms of NAEP and the like.

  5. "In the headline, as in the essay, we find the type of jargonized tribal language which helps alienate progressives and liberals from many voters."

    Tsk. Yes, this sort of moan of the damned is what separates you lib-zombies from the live ones. Well, that, your stumbling walk, and your total brainlessness, obviously...

  6. BTW I regret that the discussion is framed in terms of "gaps", rather than individually needy students. A high school student who's reading at a third grade level represents a failure of the education system, regardless of her race. The focus ought to be making sure that every student receives an adequate education.

    George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind had the right goal IMHO. Unfortunately, the structure was flawed and the teachers disliked it.

    1. Ah, yes. A "failure of the education system." Is that what Somerby is now arguing? He spent years saying that that kind of talk flew in the face of the fact of rising test scores, which nobody knew or cared about. Asserting a "failure" in the system opens the door to misguided and damaging reform efforts. At least, that's what Somerby seemed to be arguing. Are you sure you know what he is actually saying about these gaps?

  7. "Is a what?" you might sensibly ask. We can't help you with that one today. Nexis and both end that paragraph there!

    [QUOTE] Harding High School, a once-grand red brick building now long past its heyday, sits on Central Avenue in Bridgeport. Ground has been broken on a new $106 million school nearby, on a site of a former General Electric plant.

    But for now, the school’s 1,100 students make do with crumbling walls, peeling paint and classrooms that on Friday were sweltering. By late morning, teachers and students mopped sweat from their faces as they marched through the building.

    Finding and keeping qualified teachers, especially those certified to teach math and science, is a battle, administrators said. Dane Brown is in his seventh month as interim principal at Harding, and over the summer, he had 16 positions to fill. Special-education teachers are especially difficult to find, and roughly 20 percent of Harding students qualify for special-education services, he said.

    Presented with the challenges of Bridgeport, many teachers look for jobs in neighboring Fairfield, Greenwich or Stratford, Dr. Johnson, the assistant superintendent, said. That creates a competitive disadvantage that is nearly impossible to overcome.

    “They can go 10 minutes away,” she said, “and make $25,000 to $30,000 more.”

    Indeed, the districts’ proximity not only magnifies their differences, it makes matters worse, education experts say. [END QUOTE]

    1. Here's some of the rest of the article:

      [QUOTE] In the 2014-15 school year, Bridgeport spent about $14,000 per student while Fairfield spent nearly $16,000. The difference between those numbers is not enough to explain the yawning disparities in results.

      Because schools are heavily supported by local property taxes, as the judge pointed out, a property-poor town like Bridgeport has less money for its schools, even while taxing its residents at higher rates. And when funds fall short — for things as basic as paper, as they sometimes do — there is no way to make it up.

      That is not true in Fairfield, Mr. Dwyer, the chairman of the board of education, said. While his is not the highest-spending district in the state — several districts spend more than $25,000 per student — Fairfield parent associations raise money for field trips, white boards or boxes of school supplies.

      And then there is what residents spend out of school. “A suburban family can get their kids to museums, they can travel, can get special tutors, they can get enrichment classes,” Mr. Dwyer said. “Poverty is a word, but what really separates the two districts is suburban children have more enrichment activities before they even start public school than the typical urban child, and that makes a difference.” [END QUOTE]

      I, myself, would be interested in hearing from Bob Somerby what kind of achievement scores he thinks the Bridgeport students would be posting if they were being taught with what would be an optimum technique on a $14,000 per student annual budget versus what kind of scores would those students be posting if their school district was spending $25,000 per student annually and employing the currently prevailing teaching methodologies.

    2. "I, myself, would be interested in hearing from Bob Somerby..."
      You and me both, CMike.

      But it ain't gonna happen.

  8. I assume Somerby's obsession with "desegregation" relates to this explicit statement he once made: "we enjoy calling The Others racists. It's really the only play we know. It's the one play we truly enjoy."


    He searches for and reports exclusively on desegregation efforts around the country to illustrate or prove his above assertion.

    He does great damage, in my view, to liberals by maligning them the way he does, giving the impression that they only care about a "racial" solution like desegregation.
    He suggests that he would prefer focusing on poverty as the main factor in achievement gaps, but he disappears years of efforts by liberals (and others) to help in this regard, such as free lunch programs, federal funds for poor districts, remedial classes, mentoring, pre-school, etc.

    1. Bob Somerby knows the media, and sees the writing on the wall. That's why he's been auditioning here for a spot on Breitbart.

  9. Before the police arrived, the black Yale student, was photographed by a fellow student, and accused of being an intruder, even though she shared the same building. The fellow student has been identified elsewhere as having done this before, to another black student, a man, whom she screamed at when he asked her directions to a common room in order to meet a friend for an appointment. The complainant does not appear, in descriptions, to be a nice woman, one of good mental hygiene, and sounds like a racist. My guess is that being confronted by an unkind fellow student who called the cops was the more unsettling event.

    The young black student, likely found it additionally unsettling to find that the white complainant's fears were legitimized by officials, even after she turned the key, to her own room, in front of them.

    The experience of a white man, being asked to prove that he is in the right place, is very unlikely to feel to him the same as it will to a black student. You know that as well as I and might have acknowledged this.

    1. The black student wasn't particularly young. Lolade Siyonbola is 34 years old.

    2. How old was the white student? How old were the police officers? How old was your 4th cousin on your mother's side when she met Dr, King?

    3. Ed Smart,

      Tell us exactly how the police should have handled the complaint.

    4. They should've written in Bernie Sanders on the 2016 presidential-election ballot?

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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