DO BLACK KIDS (ACTUALLY) MATTER: What do those Naep data actually mean?

FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 2019

Mara Gay doesn't care:
How many "brilliant students" get rejected by New York City's Stuyvesant High School each year?

The famously "elite" high school is one of eight "specialized high schools" in Gotham to which admission is gained through the Specialized High School Admissions Test, full stop.

No other factors are considered. How many "brilliant students" don't get admitted to Stuyvesant High based on their score on that test?

There's no obvious way to answer that question. But according to Jose Vilson's recent essay at Vox, it sounds like a lot of brilliant students don't get admitted, including a lot of brilliant black and Hispanic kids.

To what extent is that fuzzy claim actually true? We have no way of knowing!

But if that feel-good claim is true, there's an obvious solution to the problem. Sadly, our liberal world is so freaking dumb, and works in such persistent bad faith, that this obvious solution almost never gets mentioned when we wail and moan, each year, about the vast injustice involving Stuyvesant High and the other high-powered high schools.

Duh! If legions of brilliant students are being rejected at Stuyvesant High, why doesn't the city's spectacularly moral mayor open a "Stuyvesant Annex?"

In one fell swoop, Gotham's brilliantly moral mayor could double the number of seats at Stuyvesant. He could also double the number of seats at such highly selective schools as The Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Tech.

This would sharply reduce the number of brilliant students getting turned away by these schools. It would double the number of brilliant students benefiting from the demanding curricula taught at these high-powered schools.

This partial solution to the Stuyvesant problem is so obvious that it squeaks. And yet, this solution almost never gets mentioned when we pseudo-liberals swing into action, complaining, on an annual basis, about the many brilliant kids who are unfairly turned away from Stuyvesant High because Gotham's devious Asian kids are eating up all their seats.

Was man [sic] ever "the rational animal?" Trust us! If you watch our pseudo-liberal world pretend to discuss this matter each year, the answer will be staring you square in the face.

We liberals! When we attempt to discuss the Stuyvesant problem, the spectacular dumbness of our discussions is their defining characteristic. Unless it's the bad faith we seem to put on display as we advance the scripted complaints which make us feel morally pure.

At any rate, how many brilliant black and Hispanic kids get turned down by Stuyvesant High each year? Basic data from New York City's public schools raise a very different question—a question concerning all of Gotham's black and brown kids, not just the talented few percent who matter to people like the New York Times' Mara Gay and Slate's Mary Harris.

Harris came to Slate from stints at ABC News and NPR. This Tuesday, Slate published the unfortunate audiotape of her discussion with Gay about the Stuyvesant problem.

Gay was once an intelligent, free-thinking undergraduate at Michigan (class of 2008). Today, she's a thoroughly scripted, very young member of the Times editorial board.

In our view, the 19-minute discussion at Slate is a showcase for ugly upper-class values, as filtered through a defiantly pseudo-liberal lens.

Repeatedly, Gay slimes the Asian-American kids who dominate admissions to Stuyvesant through their high academic achievement.

As she does, she produced an endless array of pseudo-lib nonsense. That included this all-time head-slapper at the 18-minute mark:
GAY (3/26/19): I guess what I can't stop thinking about is—because, you know, I had parents who advocated for me, like you advocate for your kids.

What I can't stop thinking about is, How many black and Hispanic kids are sitting somewhere in a middle school in East New York or in the South Bronx right now who have great grades, who come to school and are going to—you know, they could cure cancer!

And how many of them are going to be languishing in schools that are not going to get them there, because we are insisting on defending the indefensible?
At some point, it must be asked, as was asked long ago:

In the end, have these people no shame?

Next week, we'll look at this conversation between Harris and Gay in a bit more detail. But this is what Gay has said in that ridiculous passage:

Gotham's lower-scoring black kids would go on to find the cure for cancer if Stuyvesant would let them in! As for Gotham's higher-scoring Asian kids, consider this earlier passage:
GAY: At the end of the day, what do we want our specialized high schools, or any of our high schools, to do?

Do we want them to find the kids who are best at taking this exam? Or do we want them to find the most enthusiastic, accomplished, passionate learners around the city?

I guess I'm somebody who believe that there are kids in every single classroom in this city who have high potential.

You know, these schools, like Stuyvesant—they should reflect the city at large. Because otherwise—

Do you really believe that there are only seven black kids who are qualified for Stuyvesant? No, nobody really believe that.
According to Gay, Gotham's higher-scoring Asian kids "are best at taking this exam."

On the other hand, it sounds like Gotham's lower-scoring black and Hispanic kids are "the most enthusiastic, accomplished, passionate learners." They're the ones who will go on to find the cure for cancer if Stuyvesant lets them in!

Gay aims jibes of that type at those Asian kids all through her ugly performance. It never enters her scripted head to ask the blindingly obvious question:

If so many accomplished learners are being rejected at Stuyvesant High, why doesn't New York City open a Stuyvesant Annex? Why not double the number of kids exposed to its potent curriculum?

That must be the most obvious thought currently found on the face of the earth! But it doesn't enter Gay's head, because she isn't actually seeking a solution to an alleged social problem.

Instead, she's offering pseudo-liberal racial cant. Full stop, all the way down.

Note what Gay seems to imply in the first passage we've quoted. She seems to imply that the higher-scoring Asian kids should be forced to "languish in" lousy high schools so the lower-scoring black and Hispanic kids could get admitted to Stuyvesant.

Why would anyone picture such a miserable, zero-sum solution to this alleged problem? Why should anyone have to languish in some crummy high school? Why can't all these brilliant, accomplished kids attend an expanded Stuyvesant?

Why doesn't that obvious solution seem to enter Gay's head? It's because she's mainly voicing liberal cant all through this brainless discussion. It's because she doesn't seem to care about the vast majority of the kids in the city whose upper-class, pseudo-liberal newspaper she now goes out and shills for.

Next week, we'll examine the colloquy between Harris and Gay in more detail. For today, let's take another look at the data we've posted this week.

Today, we'll look at data from New York City and from the nation as a whole. What do these data actually mean? At the upper-class New York Times, it seems clear that nobody cares:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03

Average scores, Grade 8 math
Public schools nationwide, 2017 Naep

White students: 292.16
Black students: 259.60
Hispanic students: 268.49
Asian-American students: 309.52
What do those punishing data mean? Those data seem to mean this:

They seem to mean that the average black kid in New York City doesn't come close to being prepared to pursue the demanding curriculum of a school like Stuyvesant High.

They seem to mean that the vast majority of Gotham's black and Hispanic kids don't come close to being "brilliant, accomplished students" in that particular sense.

Based on a standard though very rough rule of thumb, those data seem to mean that the average black kid in New York City, and across the nation as a whole, is years behind the average white or Asian-American kid in math. The achievement gap creeps all the way up to an astounding five years, based on that very rough rule of thumb.

Can the gap really be that large? Can the average black kid really be that far behind?

Mara Gay doesn't seem to care. Instead, she traffics in silly, sick dreams—silly dreams which let us pseudo-liberals sleep the sleep of the just.

For the record, people like Gay have been playing these games for at least the past fifty years. Meanwhile, upper-class newspapers like the Times refuse to publish those ugly data from our one reliable testing program. This lets them refuse to tell us what those data actually mean.

Can the gaps possibly be as wide as that rough rule of thumb would imply? According to that very rough rule of thumb—a rule we've seen the Times apply—the average black kid in New York City is five years behind the average Asian-American kid in math when they're still in the eighth grade!

Can anything like that really be true? The New York Times will never ask. Instead, it sends out cretins like Gay to tell us that Asian kids (and their parents) are gaming the system, while Gotham's highly accomplished black kids would go on to find the cure for cancer if we'd just give them the chance.

Why doesn't New York City open a Stuyvesant Annex? This apparent solution to this alleged problem is so obvious that it squeaks. But it doesn't occur to Gay in the course of this mindless discussion.

What do those Naep data actually mean? Gay doesn't seem to care.

We plan to continue this topic next week because it reveals so much about our disgraceful tribe. That said, it's only important if you care about the lives of Gotham's actual kids, not the superhero kids of Gay's ridiculous dreams.

We'll start with kids we taught long ago in the Baltimore City Schools. The kids we have in mind weren't going to find the cure for cancer. Nor would they ever descend to the level of shills like Harris and Gay.

What do these Naep data actually mean? And why won't Gay and the New York Times return from the Hamptons to tell us?

Next week: Numbered among the very best people we have ever known


  1. "Unless it's the bad faith we seem to put on display as we advance the scripted complaints which make us feel morally pure."

    They're zombie cult priests performing zombie cult rituals. It's their job.

  2. Many liberals want to discriminate against Asians, in order to help blacks and Hispanics. So, they also may tend to disparage Asians, as a way to justify their discrimination. Racist acts and racist speech, all in the the alleged goal of fighting racism.

    It's similar to the old-fashioned antisemitism: "They're different from us, and they're taking our positions."

    A lot of liberalism is about signalling one's virtue and feeling good. So, they need people who need their help. You can't signal virtue by helping someone who doesn't need your help.

    1. 'It's similar to the old-fashioned antisemitism: "They're different from us, and they're taking our positions."'
      ...and some, I assume, are good people.

    2. In case anyone is interested, Comrade DinC is a bullshit artist. And the sneering derisive label he attaches to "a lot of liberalism" of "signaling one's virtue" is a pejorative term invented by the radical right to bless themselves with virtue.

    3. Ah, but mm, just like David in Cal, Bob Somerby uses this term. Check out his comment on Kevin Drum’s article. The link is

      Scroll down to feast your eyes on his brilliant non-attempt at engaging in a conversation.

      I will post the entire conversation in another comment. But here is the money quote: “Our ignorance reflects a long-standing, obvious fact— no one actually cares about any of this, except as a form of liberal self-affirmation and “virtue signaling.”

    4. 12:51, That's fascinating and a little disappointing. I will check it later.

    5. Today's NY Times has an article, Are You ‘Virtue Signaling’?

  3. "Do we want them to find the kids who are best at taking this exam? Or do we want them to find the most enthusiastic, accomplished, passionate learners around the city?"

    What type of screening might we employ that is most likely to show us the most enthusiastic, accomplished and passionate learners? Is there something like some kind of, just throwing it out there, call me crazy, EXAM?

    Leftists are irredeemably disordered.

    1. Public resources are limited. That's an unfortunate fact of life.

      For example,

      You may qualify for automatic admission to many public universities in Texas through the Top 10% Rule. To meet the requirements, you must graduate in the top 10% of your class at a recognized public or private high school in Texas or a high school operated by the U.S. Department of Defense and be a Texas resident or eligible to pay resident tuition.

      Now I am sure the top 10% of each and every institution are not going to have identical academic achievement, yet it actually seems a pretty fair way to do it.

      I wouldn't worry about the Asian high achievers who get displaced from these elite schools in NYC will do just fine in life. What's the problem?

      Just think of the poor qualified students who got displace for admittance to Fordham and Wharton by Donald J Chickenshit, the ignorant bastard. Or better yet, how many kids had to take his place in Vietnam due to his fraudulent bought and paid for medical deferments.

      Life's a bitch, you know.

    2. mm - I don't think that U of Texas system is fair. It's a sneaky way to practice race discrimination against Asians and whites in favor of blacks. The top 10% method was chosen a few years ago with that express purpose.

      My wife's cousin's grandson was an excellent student at a special school in Houston. He was close to not being admitted at UT in favor of some lesser student who happened to go to a high school with lower standards and less competition.

    3. In case anyone is interested, Comrade DinC is a supreme bullshit artist. He is related by six degrees of separation to everyone in the world.

      Hey, DinC, fuck your wife's cousin's grandson.

    4. ******
      David in CalMarch 23, 2019 at 10:07 PM

      This is the new Democratic talking point, but it won't last long. First of all, just about nobody opposes releasing the Mueller Report - not even Trump.

      Barr’s letter indicates that the Justice Department is certain to miss an April 2 deadline set by House Democrats to turn over Mueller’s full report. Sen. Dianne Feinstein
      (D-Calif.) had given Barr an April 1st deadline, while a House Democrats gave the attorney general an April 2nd deadline to give Congress the full report.

      The attorney general said officials are reviewing the report to make necessary redactions to restrict grand jury material, sensitive intelligence information that could compromise sources and methods, and details that could impact ongoing investigations stemming from Mueller’s expansive inquiry.

      "I am currently available to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2019, and before the House Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2019," he said

      Well lah di fucking dah, he checked his calendar and finds he may have time nearly 2 months after the report was delivered to testify.

      As we can see, David is a fucking idiot. Usually wrong.

    5. Mueller Report To Be Given To Congress By Mid-April, Attorney General Barr Says

      If the full report shows Trump colluding with Russia, there will still be time to impeach him or vote against him. There's nothing magical about some arbitrary deadline set by House Democrats. They haven't seen the report, so they don't know how much work is involved in order to determine what can be legally released. The release date is a lame talking point.

    6. My dear, it's time for your grief to move from denial to anger, don't you think?

    7. Fuck you David. Congress to get the full fucking report - the one where the SC says he is NOT EXONERATING Donald J Chickenshit for obstruction of justice - , just like the Blowjob investigation, just like Watergate. What the fuck is going on? His handpicked pool boy is now scrubbing it clean and stalling, jackass.

    8. They're not impeaching Trump, unless there's something so bad in the Mueller Report, Republicans can't ignore it.. Trump supporting reparations for slavery, not little things like treason against the United States of America, is the only thing I can think of that would cause impeachment by a Republican Senate

  4. Here is Bob Somerby’s attempt at joining in the conversation on Kevin Drum’s post. The link is

    The comment that prompted Somerby’s comment is from George Salt: “That’s my thought too. Most of these standardized tests are poor predictors of academic success, but they are highly correlated with family income.”

    Here is Somerby’s reply:
    Bobsomerby: “ in this case, your thought is wrong. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, our one reasonably reliable domestic test battery, lower-income white kids outscore higher-income black kids on average, if only by small amounts. It simply doesn’t work the way you assume it must.

    This was Kevin‘s initial point. Much of our reflexive liberal/progressive thinking in this area is based on preferred ideas of what must be true, rather than on knowledge of what actually is true. Our ignorance reflects a long-standing, obvious fact— no one actually cares about any of this, except as a form of liberal self-affirmation and “virtue signaling”.

    If we cared, we’d be familiar with basic facts. Our thought leaders would have told us about them. But our thought leaders simply don’t care, and they never have. Have you ever seen Rachel say even one word about the plight of black kids in school?

    I’m not talking about Fox when I say this. I am speaking here about us. Rachel doesn’t care about this. She proves this every single night, and we are more than happy to watch.“

    1. Note that Somerby brings up Maddow out of nowhere. He has no idea if George Salt or any of the other commenters even watch Maddow. He accuses liberals (apparently including Drum’s commenters) of not caring about this issue, despite the fact that there is a sincere attempt at a discussion going on amongst Kevin’s readers.

      Somerby derails the conversation by making his insulting accusations and bringing up Maddow for no reason.

    2. Here is the remainder of the thread that followed Somerby’s initial comment:

      Chuck Simmons: “Rachel kinda drives me nuts. I haven’t been able to sit down and watch her for 30 consecutive minutes yet.

      Alex Jones on the other hand... What a spectacle! Where did this nut job come from?!”

      Cranky Observer: “ starting to think that Charles Murray got wind of this thread and unleashed some paided trolls.”

      Bobsomerby: A truly thoughtful analysis, one which supports my overall point about the dimwitted uselessness of much which goes on in our liberal/progressive tribe.”

    3. And that was it. If he were smart, Somerby would have realized the schooling that Chuck Simmons was giving him, by pointing out Somerby’s attempt to drive the conversation towards Maddow.

    4. Somerby was exactly on point in that thread with his "lower-income white kids outscore higher-income black kids on average, if only by small amounts. It simply doesn't work the way you assume it must."

      95% of those who read Drum's threads understood the added point Somerby was making with his reference to Maddow. It's not Somerby's fault if some of the regulars at the Howler make playing dumb and/or ever outraged their habit when they comment here.

      I wish these New Democrat prigs would figure out they're more suited to listening to Pod Save America on endless loop then they'll ever be reading the disconcerting truths Somerby writes about.

  5. “What do those Naep data actually mean?”

    Apparently, at least according to Somerby, they mean that the majority of black kids cannot pass the SHSAT test, and will never go on to cure cancer.

    To some extent, Somerby and Gay recognize the same distressing problem: black kids have a greatly diminished chance of academic success. Gay wants to encourage and motivate these kids by appealing to an inner desire to achieve. Somerby, on the other hand, would apparently rather acknowledge that those kids just ain’t got it.

    Somerby could share and analyze the research that has been done for the past 50 years, some of it by liberals, on achievement gaps. The upshot is, though, that the exact causes of the gaps are not fully understood, and therefore any single solution is unlikely to ensure success.

    That is the difficulty surrounding the achievement gap data.

    It’s also worth noting as well that the data alone do not suggest causes nor solutions, and the data also do not automatically rule out racism or its legacy as contributing factors.

    1. "Somerby and Gay recognize the same distressing problem: black kids have a greatly diminished chance of academic success."

      Why is that distressing? Asian kids have a greatly diminished chance of NBA success.

    2. Asian kids have a greatly diminished chance of NBA success due to poverty, redlining, and an unequal justice system. LOL.

  6. I’ve been reading The Howler since 2003 and I’ve found Bob’ commentary on education to be lackluster at best. Bob simply refuses to acknowledge the place that racism and later segregation have played and still play in the lives of people of color.
    Look at your own damn town. Look at the differences in the distribution of educational assets in the White L in North and Central Baltimore and the Black Butterfly of East and West Baltimore.

  7. Repeatedly, Gay slimes the Asian-American kids who dominate admissions to Stuyvesant through their high academic achievement.

    Repeatedly, for values of repeatedly equal to “not once.”

    Asian-Americans come into the conversation twice. Once when Harris asks Gay about Asian-American parents who pay for test prep and who object to changing the admissions procedure. Gay says that these parents incur no blame for this, but that reaping benefits from unfair practices is no reason to keep supporting those practices.

    The other time was about Asian-American donors influencing a New York City politician. Gay goes out of her way to note that the Asian-American community is united on supporting the current system, but that the African-American community is not.

    Neither of these two instances are “sliming” and neither is about Asian-American kids.

    It is true that Harris notes that people are disputing the standards of admittance (now actually a single standard, the SHSAT), and Gay asks whether we want a broad definition of best suited or “Do we want to find the kids who are best at taking this exam?”

    That, of course, includes many kids who are Asian-American, but it’s also the exact definition of the admissions requirement. Every student who gains admission to a specialized high school in NYC is among the best at taking the exam. How is this “sliming” anyone?

    Don’t get me wrong, the entire interview is pretty much the horror show of muddled thinking that TDH claims it is, but that’s no reason to invent things.

    And that’s the second time in two days that TDH has done this. The first being his claim that Stephanie Clifford approached Donald Trump to demand money for her silence about their encounter.

    Is this a trend?

    Well, TDH does use his “man [sic] rational animal” nonsense, but at least he doesn’t attribute it to Aristotle. So there is that.

  8. "Bob simply refuses to acknowledge the place that racism and later segregation have played and still play in the lives of people of color."

    Discrimination by race is against the law, dembot. If you're aware of such an incident, notify the authorities and bring it to court.

    1. Perp walk the entire Republican Party.


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