Meet the kids of El Paso and Austin: "Out in the west Texas town of El Paso," something like 150,000 kids are enrolled in school today.
In truth, El Paso is hardly a "town" at this point. As of the 2010 census, it seems to have been our 19th largest city. Based on a 2016 estimate, it may be crowding past Seattle on the largest cities list.
El Paso's kids are served by four different school districts. Something like 45,000 kids are enrolled in the Socorro ISD, second largest of these districts.
Demographically, the Socorro district's student population looked like this in grades 3-8, according to the recent study by Stanford's Sean Reardon and two associates:
Student population, Socorro ISD (El Paso)Pity the poor "minority" kids of the Socorro school district! They can't receive the advantages of The New York City "Integration" Ideal, in which they could sit in a lunchroom, every day, with a group of students which might include as many as 15 percent white kids!
White kids: 4 percent
Black kids: 2 percent
Hispanic kids: 93 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent
The kids of Socorro can only dream of that day. Meanwhile, for children who walk the streets of Laredo, the complexion of things is even a tiny bit worse:
Student population, Laredo ISDTo this picture, we add one new point. It concerns the children who go to school in Austin, which now seems to rank as our 11th biggest city.
White kids: 0 percent
Black kids: 0 percent
Hispanic kids: 99 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent
According to Reardon's data, Austin's student population is a walloping 25 percent white! In that sense, Austin's black kids have additional chances to gaze on white kids in their lunchrooms—but in the district's actual classrooms, Reardon says things break down like this:
Where the average student stoodAccording to Reardon's data, there's a 3.2 year achievement gap, presumably at or near the start of sixth grade. And that's just the average student from each group. A lot of white kids exceed their group's average, and we think you can take it from there.
Austin, Grades 3-8, reading and math
White kids: 1.9 years above grade level
Black kids: 1.3 years below grade level
We're just trying to clue you in concerning world of the actual children who are actually living today. You won't learn these things in the New York Times, a newspaper which sometimes seems to care more about the nuns of 1838 than about the kids of today.
We base this unflattering assessment on what we learned about the Times on yesterday's page A3 (print editions only). That page's daily Spotlight section featured the work of a good, decent person who works for the Times. That section started like this:
SpotlightThat passage only refers to the Jesuits of 1838. But as the Spotlight feature continued, it posted five chunks of material from Swarns' actual tweets.
ADDITIONAL REPORTAGE AND REPARTEE FROM OUR JOURNALISTS
Rachel Swarns, a journalist for the Times, has spent more than two years digging into Georgetown University's relationship with slavery: In 1838, 272 slaves [sic] were sold by the Jesuits to help keep the school afloat. In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Ms. Swarns elaborated on the ways in which some American nuns, and educators tied to the institution they founded, are also confronting a history of slave ownership.
To peruse that material, click here.
In those passages from yesterday's page A3, we were informed about what the nuns of Georgetown did "between 1800 and 1962." We learned about efforts by their modern-day successors to "confront" this history.
Stating the obvious, Times readers were supposed to swell with pride when we encountered this Spotlight feature. We were expected to feel that the Times is deeply involved in the pursuit of racial justice.
We had a different reaction. Our reaction focused on one key word in the passage we've posted: "journalist."
Rachel Swarns is a good decent person; she's sensible and intelligent. That said, it seemed to us that work of this kind might represent the type of wasted labor we sometimes find among the nation's "historians."
If you've ever watched C-Span 3 on weekends, when it features American History TV, you've seen the endless person-hours which are invested in the rehashing of Civil War battles and the history of slavery.
Our scholars never stop digging in these fields. In the course of these labors, they completely ignore the living children of El Paso, Laredo, Detroit.
It seems to us that it's bad enough when our "historians" do this. But why would a newspaper like the Times have its journalists spending years on such projects, when it's so clear that its reporters have absolutely no interest at all in the children of Detroit?
In the kids who are being born today. In the little girl who's going to start first grade in the fall.
Why should our journalists study the nuns of 1838 while ignoring the children of modern Detroit? The answer to that is blindingly clear:
Inside the world of the New York Times, today's black and Hispanic and low-income kids just completely don't count. What matters is the desire of us liberal readers to feel morally lofty and pure.
We tackle the nuns of '38. We blow past the kids of Detroit.
At this point, does it actually matter? Should we care about what those nuns did in 1838?
On balance, we'd be inclined to say no, but let's say we really should care. We'll only tell you this:
While one Times journalist has spent two years exploring the nuns of 1838, the newspaper's coverage of the kids of El Paso and Detroit has been a journalistic and moral disgrace—an act of criminal indifference.
The kids of El Paso don't exist at the Times. So too with the kids of Detroit.
How bad has Times reporting been when the lives and the interests of kids like these are at issue? Consider the way Professor Reardon's sweeping study was reported by the Times.
We've linked to that report many times in the past few weeks, but only for the data. In the actual New York Times news report, Motoko Rich was buffaloed by a fairly obvious manifestation—by the fact that achievement gaps were especially large in university towns like Chapel Hill, Evanston, Berkeley.
No one with the first hint of a clue would have been surprised by that phenomenon. The Times education reporter was utterly baffled—and the groaning achievement gaps which exist all over the country were never discussed again.
The Times doesn't care about sh*t like that. The Times loves "desegregation."
What kinds of achievement gaps existed in our major cities, according to Reardon's data? In New York City, the gaps were large, but elsewhere they were larger. For the sake of simplicity, we'll restrict ourselves to just two groups of kids:
Where the average student stoodSuch gaps—at or near the start of sixth grade—go on and on and on and on, in districts all over the country. Rich puzzled about three university towns, and the Times left it right there.
Grades 3-8, reading and math:
New York City
White kids: 1.3 years above grade level
Black kids: 1.0 years below grade level
White kids: 2.7 years above grade level
Black kids: 2.2 years below grade level
White kids: 2.9 years above grade level
Black kids: 1.5 years below grade level
White kids: 2.2 years above grade level
Black kids: 1.5 years below grade level
For the record, there are no gaps on the streets of Laredo; the kids there are all Hispanic. Last week, Mayor de Blasio cruelly said that even Those Kids can have good schools! Despite the lack of white kids!
Is it possible that such a remark could be true? You won't see any such discussion in the Times. The truth is, the good, decent people at the Times completely and wholly don't care.
As we learned in several reports in the Times last week, everyone says they want good schools. At the Times, that seems to mean a school where the lunchroom may be as much as 15 percent white.
Alas! Everyone says they want good schools, but no one says how to attain them. All next week, we'll examine that topic—we'll examine the gaps and good schools.
Meanwhile, in one journalist's tweets, you can learn about the nuns of 1838. That journalist is a good, decent person. She's sensible, caring and smart.
She's studied the nuns of 1838. But when it comes to the kids of 2018, her newspaper doesn't care.
We liberals! We care about the racist nuns from the days of Martin Van Buren. But when it comes to the kids of today, we quit on those kids eons ago. Nothing could be more clear.
Next week: Gaps and good schools