Interlude—Also, a New York story: The Los Angeles story of which we've been speaking isn't an upbeat story.
Luckily, it involves hundreds of thousands of American kids who nobody cares about. For that reason, the story is never told by the big wealthy famous corporate stars we love so much on TV.
You've literally never heard this story on corporate liberal "cable news," and you never will! Yesterday, we offered this data set as a basic capsule:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, 2017 NaepBased on a standard though very rough rule of thumb, those numbers mean that the average Hispanic kid in L. A. is more than three years behind the average white kid nationwide at the end of eighth grade. The average black kid in L. A. was substantially farther behind (253.66).
Hispanic kids in L.A.: 259.99
White kids nationwide: 292.16
Luckily, no one gives a flying fig about the black or Hispanic kids of L.A. For that reason, revered corporate figures like Rachel Maddow will never bore you with this Los Angeles story. She's too busy mugging and clowning about moronic bullshit like this:
MADDOW (8/10/18): And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.You can watch the whole thing here. You'll enjoy plenty of chuckling and laughing.
All right. So, it is a small enough range of what they`re looking for aesthetically that I'm thinking you basically have to register as having Acceptable Haircut A or Acceptable Haircut B. And those are sort of the two lanes that are available to you.
Under Haircut A, we have, for example, Ben Affleck, or Josh Brolin, or Mark Wahlberg, or Jake Gyllenhaal, or Chris Helmsworth or the great Anderson Cooper or the great Jimmy Fallon or that guy from The Hurt Locker who was so good.
[PHOTOGRAPHS KEEP APPEARING]
I think you'd have to put in the category of Haircut A James Bond, AKA Daniel Craig. Also, Bear Grylls.
I hesitate with these last two, though, because I can't totally confirm that those aren't just slightly photo-shopped, tweaked versions of the same cover.
Put those two up side by side. Look! Daniel Craig and Bear Grylls! They turned them into exactly the same dude!
[PHOTOS APPEAR SIDE BY SIDE! SO ENTERTAINING AND COOL!]
So those are examples of Haircut A in this environment. But don't be fooled into thinking their aesthetic range is singular. They will also occasionally accept a cover model with Haircut B, which you see here.
So if you cannot swing Haircut A for whatever reason, you are also allowed to be El Baldo. Especially if you have some other kind of prop, a vaguely hair-like prop to distract from your baldishness.
[PHOTOGRAPHS OF SEVERAL "EL BALDOS." SO ENTERTAINING AND FUN!]
So the theme here, right, the aesthetic window here is only open a slight amount. It's a tight line here. I mean, they do occasionally break out and do something a little bit different.
For example, here's a man in a hat. Here's a man on a motorcycle. Here's Harrison Ford, I think taking his own pulse maybe?
[PHOTOS CONTINUE TO APPEAR]
Here is a scary-eyed man pretending to be a magician.
Here's a man with a slightly different photo filter than they usually use, right? So they do sometimes mix it up. But not much, right? You clearly know what to expect if you go looking for Men's Journal magazine.
Men's Journal magazine, if it isn't clear enough, they've got a theme, they've got a specific look.
At any rate, so it goes as we liberals are served our Tribal Entertainment Product. Those loser kids in L.A. would kill our fun, and so they never appear. In a word, those loser kids are just sad!
Today, we interrupt our Los Angeles story to offer a New York story. First, though, we'll tell you a national story—a story you've never heard.
The data we're showing you come from the Naep—the federally-run National Assessment of Educational Progress, the widely acclaimed "gold standard" of domestic educational testing which dates to 1970.
Within the mainstream Amewrican "press corps," everybody praises the Naep, and no one discusses its data. For that reason, you haven't heard about the scoring pattern which has seemed to take shape in recent years.
After decades of major score gains, Naep scores have seemed to regress on a nationwide basis. For the high-flying white kids we cited above, the pattern looks like this:
Average scores, American public schoolsThe progress seemed to be steady, and rather impressive, through the 2013 testing. In that year, white eighth graders seemed to be performing almost two years ahead of their counterparts from 1996.
Grade 8 math, 2017 Naep
White students only:
That's where the happy talk stops. In the last two Naep administrations, decades of apparent progress have seemed to reverse. For "white" eighth graders, scores are stagnant over those last six years.
In a world which actually cared about matters like this, this would be cause for concern. By way of contrast, we live in a world which favors entertainment and amusement, inane self-help essays and books, exciting "true crime" reports and mind-reading columns and "analysis" pieces concerning Melania Trump.
We also like to know who our pols had sex with in 2006. We very much like to hear about that. Given our descent from great apes, there seem to be very few things we care about more.
For these reasons, you've never heard about those stagnant Naep scores. And the stagnation isn't restricted to the kids who get defined as "white." Scores for other major demographic groups have stagnated too:
Average scores, American public schoolsAs with the white kids, so too here. Large score gains were being recorded up through the 2011 or 2013 test sessions. But over the past six years, the average score for each of these groups has dropped.
Grade 8 math, 2017 Naep
Black students only:
Hispanic students only:
Luckily, nobody cares about any of this, so our interest in Stephanie Clifford's sexy-time claims, along with her entertaining money grabs, won't have to give way to this piddle. This brings us to our first New York story, the tale we'll tell you today.
Decades of apparent score gains on the Naep have seemed to give way to stagnation. This apparent trend really took shape after the 2017 Naep data were released in April of this year.
Let's give modest credit where due! On April 10, the Washington Posr published a pair of reports about the new data.
On page A16 of the Post's print editions, the paper published this less-than-800-word report about the national data.
Weirdly, the report began by describing the Naep as "a national math and science exam," though the only scores which had been released were the basic scores for reading and math. Presumably, this bungled description was judged to be "close enough for upper-end press corps work."
That same day, the Post published this 900-word report on page B1, the first page pf the Metro section. That report focused on regional data from the Naep—scores for the D.C. Public Schools, and for the statewide public schools of Maryland and Virginia.
The Washington Post thus managed to publish basic reports about these important new data. That said, the paper had produced a puzzling Washington story nine days earlier.
At that time, the Post had when it an utterly puzzling, illogical opinion column by Arne Duncan. In it, the former education secretary made a set of irrational claims about the amazing progress which has been recorded under the "education reform" movement of the past ten years.
Duncan's piece made no earthly sense in terms of basic chronology. A few days later, the new Naep scores established the fact that we seem to have entered an era of decline.
We'll take a guess! Duncan was trying to get ahead of those data with a set of illogical, feel-good claims about the movement he had championed.
Why did the Washington Post publish Duncan's irrational piece? The answer to that question is an Insider Washington story. But, a few hundred miles to the north, the famous "werewolves of Gotham" were taking a different approach.
As best we can tell, the New York Times has never reported the new Naep data at all! Unless you want to count the last two paragraphs of a report by Elizabeth Harris on a fundamentally different subject:
HARRIS (4/11/18): But on Tuesday, the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress on reading and math, a set of tests given every other year across the country, often called the Nation's Report Card, were released. The results for New York City were discouraging. The scores, for fourth and eighth graders, showed that the city made no significant gains from 2015 to 2017 in either reading or math. During that time period, scores in most states, including New York, were essentially flat. But since 2013, the year Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected, math scores among New York City fourth graders dropped by 7 points.Werewolves, that was it! As best we can tell, that represents the full extent of this fatuous newspaper's attempt to report the new data.
Reacting to the results, [Public Schools Chancellor] Carranza said in a statement, ''Today's N.A.E.P. results show that we are not where we need to be on math education.'' He said the city would immediately increase teacher training in elementary math and would review schools that are doing well, to apply successful strategies across the city. ''Math is a foundation of every student's education and we will not accept anything less than equity and excellence for every student in New York City,'' he said.
As Harris noted, the Naep is often called "The Nation's Report Card." Its basic tests in reading and math are administered every two years.
As best we can tell, those two paragraphs represent the New York Times' complete attempt to report the new data from 2017. Werewolves of Gotham, on their way to the Hamptons, aren't inclined to put to a lot of effort into a topic like this.
Our Los Angeles story involves ugly data about the lives, the interests and the prospects of hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles kids. Because of who and what they are, Werewolves of Gotham don't care about that. Neither does our Darling Rachel, who mugs and clowns for her corporate pay as the children of L.A. take the hands of their crossing guards and are shown the way under the bus.
Tomorrow: The New York Times pretends to address our Los Angeles story
That's where the money goes: Yesterday, we meant to give you this link. The link is from New York magazine. Ain't entertainment grand?