Starting tomorrow, The seven percent illusion: Let's talk about the vast majority of black kids in New York City. We refer to the many good, decent kids who won't be going to Yale.
No one in the pseudo-liberal world cares about these kids. That's especially true at the famously upper-class newspaper, the Hamptons-based New York Times. But it also seems to be true within the NAACP and in Mayor de Blasio's office.
Most black kids in New York City won't be going to Yale! To what extent will upper-end journalists deceive you about the lives and interests of these good decent kids?
By now, it should be abundantly clear that they'll con you all the way down. Consider what happened on March 19, when the New York Times' Eliza Shapiro was interviewed by Ailsa Chang on NPR's All Things Considered.
That morning, Shapiro had penned this front-page report about this year's admission offers to New York City's eight "specialized high schools." Shapiro focused on Stuyvesant High, the most high-powered and elite school in the whole elite, high-powered bunch.
Admission offers had just been sent. According to Shapiro, Stuyvesant had extended 895 offers, and the breakdown looked like this:
Admission offers to Stuyvesant High:Based on Shapiro's claim that 895 offers went out, that left 74 offers unaccounted for. This was apparently "close enough for New York Times front-page work."
Asian-American students: 587
White students: 194
Hispanic students: 33
Black students: 7
In one obvious sense, those are jaw-dropping numbers. Later that day, Chang asked Shapiro why the number of admission offers for black and Hispanic students was so low at the eight high-powered schools as a group.
In response to Chang's question, Shapiro did what her guild almost always does. The Times reporter conned NPR listeners. She left no excuse behind:
CHANG (3/19/19): So what have been the explanations for why these stark racial disparities exist at these eight elite schools?Yes, she actually said that! Shapiro seemed to tell Chang that there are two major reasons for the disparity in admission offers: "test prep" and test "awareness."
SHAPIRO: Yeah, so I think there's two things. The biggest issue here is test prep. We've seen the same debate with the SAT and ACT, certainly, in light of the college admissions scandal. There is a huge test prep industry in New York that prepares kids who are aware of the test to master it. So test prep is one. The other, which is related, is awareness. Some kids know about these schools from the minute they're in kindergarten. Some kids learn about the existence of the specialized high school system and the test to get into them a few months before they can sit to take the test.
And yes, she actually said this too: "The biggest issue here is test prep!" Every other explanation had been left behind!
Shapiro had left no excuse behind. It never even crossed her mind to tell Chang, and Chang's listeners, that black eighth graders in New York City seem to be, on average and at the highest levels, years behind their white and Asian-American counterparts in academic achievement.
As her upper-class guild almost always does, Shapiro simply disappeared that deeply important fact. On behalf of NPR, Chang agreed to pretend that Shapiro's answer made sense.
People like Shapiro have been telling stories like this for roughly fifty years. Is it possible that Shapiro thought she'd answered Chang's question in good faith?
We have no way of knowing! But if you were listening to All Things Considered, you were baldly misled that day. You were clownishly deceived by Shapiro as NPR's Chang cheered her on.
Chang and Shapiro agreed to mislead NPR's upper-end listeners. Let's make sure we understand who these star "journalists" are:
The award-winning Chang graduated from Stanford in 1998, then from Stanford Law School in 2001. In 2004, she received a master's degree in Media Law from Oxford. Later, she spent a year at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she learned how to stare into space as guests deceive listeners in approved tribal ways.
Shapiro is younger and less accomplished, but she's a master of the meritocratic universe too. She graduated from Columbia in the class of 2012, and according to the leading authority on her life, she comes from good sound stock:
Eliza's dad Michael Shapiro teaches at the [Columbia] J-school, while her mom Susan Chira is an assistant managing editor of The New York Times. Her uncle, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, and aunt, biology professor Jill Shapiro, also teach at Columbia.That's just good sound upper-end breeding. Result?
Seven years after graduation from the family plantation, Shapiro was ready to go on NPR and con you all the way down. We wonder what her dad and her mom and her uncle and aunt think about such behavior.
By the way, how ridiculous can it get when tightly scripted meritocrats sell you their upper-class stories? Before Chang finished this gong-show segment that day, she tolerated such unintentional comedy as can be found in Shapiro's mumble-mouthed non-reply reply to this additional question:
CHANG: We've been hearing so much about disparities in access to top-tier education. I mean, you know, last week, the college admissions scandal dominated headlines. There's been this ongoing litigation over Harvard's treatment of Asian-American applicants. How would you say this story about New York City public high schools fits into this larger conversation we've been having?Too funny! How does "this story about New York City public high schools" fit into the conversation about Harvard's admission procedures?
SHAPIRO: I would say it helps raise the stakes of this debate. What we're really asking is who deserves admission into the best public schools in this country and the best, quote-unquote, "private universities." And it just seems like that debate, which has always, of course, been a facet of American life, but it seems like that debate is accelerating. And the outrage on both sides about the Stuyvesant numbers and the specialized high schools is only going to expand that debate towards elite public schools beyond just institutions of higher education.
The actual answer is, of course, darkly humorous. Harvard is being pursued in court for keeping high-performing Asian kids out. At the same time, the New York City Public Schools are being assailed by the New York Times for failing to keep Asian kids out in the way Harvard has done!
That accurate answer would have involved a bit of "dark humor." For that reason, Shapiro offered a pile of script-friendly piddle and Chang, despite her three thousand degrees, didn't seem to notice.
Does Donald J. Trump make ludicrous statement about a range of topics and events? So do pseudo-liberal masters of the meritocracy! We refer to people like Chang and Shapiro, people like Harris and Gay.
Meanwhile, everyone understands this fact except us gullible liberals. This is a major reason why Donald J. Trump may win re-election next year.
Shapiro wasn't willing to tell NPR's listeners the truth. For the most part, those admission numbers break down the way they do because of such punishing data as these:
Average scores, Grade 4 mathThose achievement gaps, which are very wide, already exist, on a nationwide basis, by the time kids are in the fourth grade.
Public schools nationwide, 2017 Naep
White students: 247.92
Black students: 222.78
Hispanic students: 229.10
Asian-American students: 258.02
Those unfortunate data, which come from the Naep, have nothing to with test prep. They define a major American problem—unless you don't give care about the lives and the interests of the vast majority of black kids, the ones who won't go to Stanford, Stanford Law or Oxford, or even to Columbia or Yale.
Chang and Shapiro were busy that day deceiving the public about the plight of those kids. In a world run by "rational animals," they would have been frogmarched out of the studio and told they must never return.
Instead, people like like Chang and Shapiro, and Harris and Gay, are allowed to misinform you every day about such topics as this. In the matter of those achievement gaps, no misdirection will be left behind!
They've been playing this game for the past fifty years. Last week, our reports on this appalling topic went exactly like this:
Tuesday, April 2: The New York Times doesn't seem to care. It's most black kids left behind!What should be done about Stuyvesant High? Starting tomorrow, we report on the mayor's proposal—"The seven percent illusion."
Wednesday, April 3: Mara Gay insults Asian-Americans. Look who's The Other now!
Thursday, April 4: It's money and test prep, Mara Gay says. The Others are robbing us blind!
Friday, April 5: "A lot of people are focused on bettering, so to speak, all the schools." The most clueless remark of them all!
Sometimes, the gods try to tell us: From 2008 through 2009, Chang was a "Kroc Fellow" at NPR.
Fairness where due! Sometimes, through their skillful word play, the gods try to send us a clue!