Tracking the wild San Diego schools!

MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2019

As seen in The Atlantic:
It's sad, but it's true:

When it comes to issues of gender and race, there's nothing so improbable or odd that our liberal tribe's intellectual leaders won't be willing to go there. In these ways, we rack up votes for the disordered Donald J. Trump.

Consider an essay which appeared last week in The Atlantic, one of the mainstream/liberal world's most venerable publications.
Inevitably, the essay concerned a matter of "segregation" in the nation's public schools.

Such language sets liberal hearts aflutter, but may cloud liberal thinking.

Did The Atlantic's essay make sense? Inevitably, it started at Stuyvesant High. Headlines included, the essay started like this:
PIRTLE (4/23/19): The Other Segregation/
The public focuses its attention on divides between schools, while tracking has created separate and unequal education systems within single schools.

The segregation of America’s public schools is a perpetual newsmaker. The fact that not even 1 percent of the incoming freshman class identifies as black at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High School made national headlines last month. And New York isn’t unusual. The minority gap in enrollment at elite academic public schools is a problem across America.

But more troubling, and often less discussed, is the modern-day form of segregation that occurs within the same school through academic tracking,
which selects certain students for gifted and talented education (GATE) programs. These programs are tasked with challenging presumably smart students with acceleration and extra enrichment activities. Other students are kept in grade-level classes, or tracked into remedial courses that are tasked with catching students up to academic baselines.
The essay was written by Whitney Pirtle, a very good person and a professor of sociology at the University of California Merced. In that opening passage, Pirtle notes a basic fact about modern-day public schooling:

Within many schools, higher-achieving students—students who are "presumably smart"—are placed in "gifted and talented" programs, otherwise known as GATE.

"Other students are kept in grade-level classes," Pirtle somewhat oddly notes. Or they're enrolled in remedial courses—classes which are tasked with catching students up to academic baselines.

This type of practice is commonly known as "tracking." Mayor de Blasio is suspicious of the practice, or so we were told on the front page of last Saturday's New York Times.

The mayor doesn't like "tracking!" As she continues, Pirtle notes a common artifact of this amazingly unremarkable educational practice—an artifact she describes as a "modern-day form of segregation."

Below, you see the way Pirtle describes the situation. She ends this passage with a statistic about gifted and talented programs in San Diego's public schools:
PIRTLE (continuing directly): Black students make up nearly 17 percent of the total student population nationwide. Yet less than 10 percent of students in GATE are black. A shocking 53 percent of remedial students are black. This disparity across tracks is what social scientists commonly call “racialized tracking”—in which students of color get sorted out of educational opportunities and long-term socioeconomic success.

The level of disparity varies across the nation. A Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report from 2014 called attention to a Sacramento, California, district where black students accounted for 16.3 percent of the district’s enrollment but only 5.5 percent of students in GATE programs. At the other end of the state, in San Diego, 8 percent of students are black, but just 3 percent of GATE students are.
At present, black kids are disproportionately represented in "gifted and talented" programs on a nationwide basis. The situation in San Diego is offered as an example.

In San Diego, Pirtle says, "8 percent of students are black, but just 3 percent of GATE students are." Assuming those numbers are accurate, it might be worth exploring the reasons for that disparity in enrollment.

Pirtle doesn't identify the range of grade levels she is discussing. That said, here's a set of fourth-grade scores from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep), our most reliable domestic source of educational data:
Average scores, Grade 4 math
San Diego Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 253.60
Black students: 223.22
Hispanic students: 225.24
Asian-American students: 254.19
According to a standard but very rough rule of thumb, the average white and Asian-American kids in San Diego are roughly three years ahead of their black and Hispanic counterparts by the spring of fourth grade. Or so those data from the Naep would seem to indicate, based upon a familiar but very rough rule of thumb.

The gaps defined by those data would seem to be very large. Presumably, this would help explain the enrollment patterns in San Diego's GATE programs.

That said, those are average scores for those four groups, and GATE programs are generally intended for higher-achieving kids. With that in mind, here are the 90th percentile scores for San Diego's fourth graders:
90th percentile scores, Grade 4 math
San Diego Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 287.96
Black students: 253.66
Hispanic students: 262.46
Asian-American students: 297.08
The achievement gaps are even larger at this achievement level.

Presumably, this data set would help explain the disparity Pirtle describes. So might a third set of statistics, in which we see how many fourth graders from each group scored at the "Advanced" level (282 or higher) on this Naep math test:
Students scoring at "Advanced" level, Grade 4 math
San Diego Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White students: 15.2%
Black students: ("rounds to zero")
Hispanic students: 2.3%
Asian-American students: 20,0%
Apparently, fewer than 0.5 percent of San Diego's black fourth-graders scored at the "Advanced" level. Presumably, this helps explain the enrollment pattern in that city's GATE programs.

It also helps define "the problem we all (quite irrationally) live with." (Also, rather uncaringly.)

Why do black kids seem to be doing so poorly by the fourth grade in San Diego's schools? Pirtle would be performing a public service if she explored that question in a competent manner.

Instead, she did what our tribe's thought leaders much more typically do. She made it sound like those GATE enrollment patterns are some sort of mystery, and she linked those patterns to one of the ugliest terms which comes to us from our brutal racial history.

The Atlantic, a venerable publication, ran to put this in print. This is the way we currently play within our self-impressed tribe.

Why are black kids doing so poorly by the spring of fourth grade? That's an important question! But the fact that black kids seem to do poorly isn't really up for debate, until people like the New York Times' Eliza Shapiro offer ridiculous and disgraceful explanations like the one shown below:
CHANG (3/19/19): So what have been the explanations for why these stark racial disparities exist at these eight elite schools?

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.
That was Shapiro, on All Things Considered, reporting from the stupid side of the modern upper-class moon.

What explains disproportional enrollment patterns in the nation's GATE programs and in our most competitive high schools?

It's all test prep, Shapiro said. It's test prep all the way down!

No sane person would credit or believe such a ridiculous claim. But publications like the New York Times and the Atlantic adore this stunningly stupid tale, and rush to put it into print. Obedient hosts on NPR pretend that such statements make sense.

(Shapiro's easily-satisifed host holds degrees from Stanford, Oxford, Columbia and Stanford Law School.)

We upper-class pseudo-liberals! We insult the interests of black kids when we behave this way. Also, through this obvious public lunacy, we are busily winning votes for the disordered Donald J. Trump!

We act like clowns when we act this way. On the brighter side, we avoid two difficult questions:

Why are black kids so far behind? And what might San Diego do to wipe those gaps away?

In truth, we pseudo-liberals don't much seem to care about questions like that. Few things are much more obvious in this dumbest of all possible worlds.

In fairness to Shapiro: In fairness to Shapiro, she comes from superior stock. The leading authority on her life spells it out like this:

"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."

Such better people pretend to care in the manner described.


  1. When The Bell Curve came out, it was widely condemned as racist, by people and organizations who misrepresented what the book says. The book actually says that Blacks' lower average IQ scores can NOT be attributed to genetic differences, because the black experience in the US has been so different from any other group. So, why was the book condemned? IMHO it was condemned for mentioning the average IQ difference. You're not allowed to say that.

    The New York Times and other liberals have learned their lesson. To point out that blacks actually do worse than whites and Asians is racism per se. Pointing out that fact is taboo.

    1. The book was condemned because Murray is a sloppy thinker, who's claims have a tendency to be false.

      Nice strawman about racism, though, David.
      You would think corporations are 'liberal", since the alternative, "conservative", means economically illiterate and terrible at basic mathematics.
      Alas, the corporations can't get turn away all the free goodies Republicans give them, and criticizing them would be hypocritical.

    2. @2:54 I recall, e.g., a real time book review in Scientific American that specifically said that The Bell Curve attribute blacks' lower average IQ score to genetic differences, even though the book specifically said the opposite.

      I see a more recent post from SA does not make this mistake, but specifically faults The B ell Curve for pointing out the difference in average IQs.

    3. David, it's best that we start talking about the Naep data rather than examining The Bell Curve.

      It seems that getting worked up over Charles Murray is just the kinda shite we do in lieu of a discussion of Naep scores.

      There are several reasons behind this tendency of ours and none of them have done anyone any good.

    4. Why would a Republican want to discuss NAEP data?
      The data shows a trend of increasing scores and gaps that have diminished but persist. Does that suggest we cut education funding? Or stop teacher unions?

      The Bell Curve is a political book, not a scientific publication, that suggests we base welfare and immigration policy on IQ. It is a joke of a screed:

      "It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences."

      “Much of public policy toward the disadvantaged starts from the premise that interventions can make up for genetic or environmental disadvantages, and that premise is overly optimistic.”

      Liberals have no issue pointing out differences, it is Republicans that shirk from facing what those differences are attributable to and what policies will help.

  2. "The essay was written by Whitney Pirtle, a very good person and a professor of sociology at the University of California Merced."

    Yes, Bob, a very good dembot, she is.

    And let me venture a guess: a product of 'affirmative action' herself, isn't she?

  3. “Pirtle notes a common artifact of this amazingly unremarkable educational practice”

    Pirtle is arguing that tracking isn’t a great idea, not examining the reasons why students are tracked the way they are.

    That is why Somerby’s labeling of tracking as an “unremarkable educational practice” is a misdirection. Pirtle is saying it *shouldn’t* go unremarked.

    As a matter of fact, she links to another article (beneath the words “modern-day form of segregation”)

    which discusses a Department of Education report. This second article links to at least two studies that call tracking into question:

    “Many education researchers have argued that tracking perpetuates class inequality and is partially to blame for the stubborn achievement gap in the U.S. educational system—between white and Asian students on one side, and black and Latino students on the other.”

    Moving Beyond Tracking”,
    William Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder May 2013



    By Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Wößmann

    Somerby could advocate for tracking, if he feels it is a useful practice, but he would rather reframe Pirtle’s argument than take it or the research head on.

    1. The need for tracking is obvious. Dept. of Ed. studies arguing the contrary shows why the Dept. of Educ. should be abolished.

      Can all high school students take calculus? Can all high school students read Pride and Prejudice in the 9th grade? Of course not.

      In my elementary school in the Bronx, classes were heterogeneous. That worked, but not well. I recall my class being subdivided into 3 groups. I recall some days where the top group tutored the bottom group. That deprived the bottom group of professional teachers. And, it deprived the top group of learning new stuff at a level and a pace that was appropriate for them.

    2. What is obvious to you isn’t necessarily generally true or scientifically verifiable.

      And your personal anecdotes are just that...anecdotes. Our personal experiences don’t always agree
      with what the research shows.

      When I went to school, there was zero tracking. All students attended the same classes. Some of us made A’s, some F’s, and everything in between. Now, the local school system does do tracking, advanced classes, etc. But if you go by the achievement gaps, nothing has changed since the pre-tracking days. That seems to be the case nationwide, so tracking seems to be of no benefit as a solution the gaps.

    3. Actually, the size of the gaps has closed a bit. The fact that there are gaps hasn't changed.

      Peer tutoring is a valid and beneficial classroom activity, whether David enjoyed it or not.

  4. Such better people pretend to care in the manner described.

    If only there were a term that centrist Democratic Party acolytes were allowed to use amongst themselves to describe this technique of only pretending to care about social justice issues which their thought leaders habitually employ, then these acolytes might start recognizing they are being led astray.

    How very clever of the neoliberal Democratic leadership to have gotten their supporters' heads right [-wing adjacent] on how to think about addressing problems of social justice.

    1. “Centrist”, “acolytes”, “neoliberal”, “right-wing”. You’ve ticked off a few boxes there. Is there a single “right” way to address problems of social justice? If so what is it?

      You and Bob Somerby apparently feel that a problem-solving approach that you don’t like means that the people advocating it don’t care about the problem as much as you do.

      When a liberal says this kind of thing about a conservative “Other”, Somerby goes ballistic, but apparently it’s open season on this type of behavior when liberals are the target.

      It’s also clear that this type of division on the left helps Trump and/or Republicans win. Examine the 2000 and 2016 elections to look for spoilers (Nader, Stein).

      Ultimately, the only group who really care about social justice issues are liberals of all stripes, the ones you label “neoliberal” and the ones who think of themselves as the “True Left.” It’s better to build a coalition than to attack, demean and divide.

      You go to battle with the army you have, not some notional perfect army. If you want change, you need to gain support and persuade people of your ideas, not label them uncaring assholes and attempt to burn the whole thing down.

    2. Examine the 2000 and 2016 elections to look for spoilers (Nader, Stein).

      Methinks, you purposely left out a name you would have used if you thought you were speaking with just those who you deem to be your political allies. Actually, you think Sanders promoted division by running in the 2016 Democratic primary and challenging the New Democrat neoliberal ascendancy by doing so. Shorter 4:14 PM: no one should run against the Democratic in-crowd's nominee in the general election and no one should run against the Democratic in-crowd's favorites in the Democratic primary.

      To spell it out to anyone who is confused, not only are neoliberals and leftists political opponents, neoliberals and New Deal/Great Society liberals are, also, political opponents.

    3. What is this "social justice" thing, anyway?

      To accomplish this "social justice", shouldn't, say, the old psycho-witch Hillary go and clean toilets in public bathrooms for a few weeks every year? Y'know, because someone will have have to clean those toilets. And maybe they too would like to make bullshit speeches and annihilate foreign countries. Make sense?

    4. What is this "social justice" thing? Here's a definition for it from a capitalist institution LINK.

    5. @cmike: So, FDR and LBJ were true leftists, is that what you are saying? Neither were anti-capitalist. LBJ was a war-monger, since he vastly expanded the Vietnam War. He was unsympathetic to the protesters of that war. FDR was a wealthy patrician, a long time political careerist. His New Deal, while bringing much good, was a way of saving capitalism from the threat of communism which gained a foothold due to the economic upheavals.

      This constant search for enemies just seems counterproductive. If you think the Democratic Party is wrongheaded and not “left”, then found another party dedicated to true leftist goals, whatever you think those are. There are millions of voters who support the current Democratic Party, some of whom are more centrist or slightly left of center. That doesn’t make them bad people or “enemies.” On the contrary, the “true leftists” will need their support to win elections, given that there are only two viable parties right now. But go ahead and call them enemies, alienate them, and watch Trump get re-elected.

      By the way, I will happily support Bernie Sanders if he is the nominee.

    6. There is a bell curve in politics too, with most people falling in the center of each party and only a few at the extremes, left and right of center. Candidates need to appeal to the center in order to be elected because getting elected is a matter of getting the most votes (not the right kind of votes).

      Bernie picks up his dainty feet and trots rightward as he joins the Democratic party each time he needs to run. He doesn't get the nomination because the majority of people are insufficiently attracted to his more extreme views. The complaint that Hillary was centrist is also the reason why she won so many votes, because voters are centrist too.

      Candidates who want to be elected will appeal to the center while trying to hold the votes of those at the edge. If those at the edge are too purist, they undermine the efforts of their own candidates. How do you know whether someone is truly "centrist" or just trying to get votes -- look at what they do when not running for office. Read the statements, all of them. Hillary run to the left of Obama but she was disdained as too "centrist" in 2016. Her life's work, the things she does in her spare time, embody left views, not centrist ones. Those of us who took the time to know her recognized that. Bernie did none of the things I care about and cannot even manage to talk a good game. But he's supposed to be purer than Hillary? You guys weren't even trying to win an election but you think it was stolen from you! Grow up CMike.

    7. Mao suggesting that Hillary clean toilets is a joke, right? No female troll would make such a remark. Women clean toilets in family homes because men are too busy messing them up to do any housework. She has undoubtedly cleaned more toilets than Mao, who reveals his male entitlement with his assumption that Hillary never cleaned a toilet (or would find that a foreign activity). The only men who clean toilets are in Clint Eastwood movies pretending to be soldiers.

    8. Most assuredly, FDR and LBJ were not "true leftists."

      The late Richard Grossman (d. 2011), who helped found both POCLAD and CELDF, explained it this way:

      ... [42:56] What did we have after the Populists were crushed, after the 1900s? We have the movement over the next fifteen years or so that is called the Progressive Era. And we learn more about that in school than we learn about the Populists.

      And I think it is very important in the process of thinking how we got here, how we got into this mess [of corporate domination].

      The Progressives were almost the opposite of the Populists in that they basically conceded that the corporation would be the dominant institution of our time and that the best that they could do would be to try to make it a little less bad. That they would try to find the best men that could run it and try to control it around the edges.

      And so when we got to the New Deal and the Great Depression it is very important to understand it was the Progressive agenda that was picked up and not the Populist agenda. ... LINK
      [END QUOTE]

      Interesting you'd explain that the New Deal was a way to save capitalism from the threat of communism and fail to mention its focus was to ward of the contemporaneous threat of fascism. Perhaps you are aware that while in conversation with friends President-elect FDR had named Huey Long the second most dangerous man in America. When then asked who then was the most dangerous, he replied, "Douglas MacArthur."

      Lyndon Johnson, that great champion of social justice, wrecked his presidency by escalating the Vietnam War against his instincts to do so because, as a Democratic president, he felt trapped by two powerful electoral memes of the day, that FDR had sold out Eastern Europe at Yalta and that "Truman lost China."

      In the end by trying to appease the right President Johnson was responsible for murder and mayhem being carried out on an industrial scale in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The great irony behind the catastrophe is that Johnson's choice in that matter, though intended as necessary for him to accomplish sweeping domestic change, ended up politically dooming a national vision for a great society if not beginning in 1968 then certainly by 1980.

    9. The Republican Party and Movement Conservatism has been in control at all levels of government for most of the years across most of the country since the late 1980s. The Democratic Leadership Council began offering its electoral strategy in 1985, it played a central role in Democratic politics for a decade plus thereafter, and then passed the torch of its loser neoliberalism along to the New Democrats in 1997. Here's 8:02 PM parroting the hustle these insider Democrats have been using on the Democratic Party faithful to help keep them in line for more than thirty years:

      Candidates need to appeal to the center in order to be elected because getting elected is a matter of getting the most votes (not the right kind of votes).

      Question for you 8:02 PM, have the Republicans been so successful since the days of Reagan because their candidates keep appealing to the center? Here's a six minute clip of a comedian in 2017 breaking it down as to what a joke the Democratic Party leadership's approach to politics has become: LINK.

    10. Mike, the definition in your link makes no sense to me at all.

      Again, in a socially just world, does the psycho-witch clean public toilets? Or does she make bullshit speeches and annihilate foreign countries while someone else is cleaning public toilets 8 hour/day every day?

      For those who understand what "social justice" is, it shouldn't be too difficult to answer this question.

    11. In the current situation the Rs represent domestic capital, which is on the 'left' in the current environment.

      The Ds represents global capital, which is 'right': higher degree of exploitation.

      Global capital is interested in weakening (and eventually eliminating) borders, national governments, currencies. The concept is: free, unrestricted, instant flow of capital everywhere in the world, constantly searching for the place where the balance of cost of labor, infrastructure, and political stability is, at the moment, the most beneficial. That's their dream.

    12. Sorry Mao, I linked to Investopedia's definition because it was written in a language you could understand. Turns out the social justice you want would be someone in this thread leaving you a link to a kink site where you could find some celebrity look alike in a role play video which would gratify this scatology fetish of yours. Can't help you- guess you're stuck just writing out a description of the scene you're looking for over and over.

    13. Hmm. I would like an example where "social justice" prevails. For the person cleaning public toilets for a living vis-a-vis the person making bullshit speeches and sending bombers to annihilate foreign countries.

      Is this too much to ask? Why? It seems like a sensible inquiry.

    14. The global capital regime you described is the neoliberal regime. A commitment to neoliberalism can be found among the leadership of both parties. Trump's objection to porous borders and his feckless jawboning against off-shoring jobs are talk radio inspired challenges to the long reigning (small "c") Washington consensus.

    15. example where "social justice" prevails.

      I think you are confusing social justice with equality of outcome. In a socially just society there will be both high and low status jobs. It's just that where social justice prevails class origin and identity group membership will not determine who will be in what job.

      And according to Smithian notions of a properly functioning capitalist economy, one where full employment and unrestricted entry for all to any career prevails, lower status jobs will be higher paid than higher status ones. That's as it should be, and a tell-tale sign something's wrong with American capitalism.

      Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 10, Part 1

      Honour makes a great part of the reward of all honourable professions. In point of pecuniary gain, all things considered, they are generally under-recompensed, as I shall endeavour to show by and by.

      Disgrace has the contrary effect. The trade of a butcher is a brutal and an odious business; but it is in most places more profitable than the greater part of common trades.

      The most detestable of all employments, that of public executioner, is, in proportion to the quantity of work done, better paid than any common trade whatever.

      Hunting and fishing, the most important employments of mankind in the rude state of society, become in its advanced state their most agreeable amusements, and they pursue for pleasure what they once followed from necessity. In the advanced state of society, therefore, they are all very poor people who follow as a trade what other people pursue as a pastime.
      [END QUOTE]

    16. "...confusing social justice with equality of outcome"

      Ah yes, I knew it. So, your "social justice" is exactly what we have now, only with different 'identities' sitting in the boardrooms and selling drugs on the corners.

      Some 'justice'. 'Justice' of a liberal zombie, viewing the world as the competition of 'races', 'gender identities', and 'sexual orientations'.

      "The global capital regime you described is the neoliberal regime."

      I'm not a stickler for words, but while "neoliberal" is associated with globalization, it's also associated with certain domestic policies: low wages, privatization, austerity.

      But globalization is the key here, as these domestic policies are mere consequences of it. When your factory can quickly and easily be closed and re-opened south of the border, the class struggle is already lost, and propagation of liberal ('free market') policies is inevitable.

      "Trump's objection to porous borders and his feckless jawboning against off-shoring jobs are talk radio inspired challenges to the long reigning (small "c") Washington consensus."

      Yeah, so, what of it? Good for Trump. Vox populi, vox dei. What's your point here?

      "It's just that where social justice prevails class origin and identity group membership will not determine who will be in what job."

      This is obviously impossible, for as long as children grow up in families, families reside in communities, and there is no great upheaval a-la Cultural Revolution.

      To take the most obvious example: a child growing up in an Amish community is likely to grow up Amish. They are going to farm. They are highly unlikely to bomb foreign countries.

      "...lower status jobs will be higher paid than higher status ones"

      Irrelevant, but this seems like a question of defining 'lower' and 'higher' status. Smith thinks that the butchers have low status, but in these times it's the politicians, lawyers, business managers, journos and such who are universally hated and regarded with contempt. So your model seems to hold here. Sort of.

    17. You know, it's almost sort of refreshing to see Mao putting some more effort into the posts here! I mean there's usually a few inane phrases deployed in his messages about dembots, libzombies, &c, signalling a sneering contempt and weary cynicism. But here, Mao is almost engaging in something like "discourse," however stunted. At this rate Mao may even rise to the level of David in Cal. Keep up the good effort!

    18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    19. Agreed, at 9:35 AM Mao put a little more effort into his response than usual but he's still trolling.

      Obviously, when he equates the response most people have to the idea of working in a slaughter house with the disgust the general population in a poll purports to have for "politicians, lawyers, business managers, journos" (i.e., the wealthy, the politically powerful, those who are literally celebrated in private and public ceremonies and at the top of hierarchies) he's knowingly making a ridiculous category error.

      Mao's pulling a fast one when he pretends there's proof no one in their heart of heart believes in the ideal that the legal, cultural, and economic institutions of the democratic state should allow all individuals a chance to earn any place in society regardless of their economic status at birth or the identity group to which they belong because... lefties are willing to tolerate the Amish, QED.

      Of course, break away communities from/within a pluralistic, democratic society will organize themselves in a different way than that which prevails in the dominant community. Just because it is inevitable there are conflicting values that have to be weighed in organizing a society and specific trade-offs have to be settled upon doesn't mean that, thereby, democratic pluralism isn't a realistic idea to organize around.

      You could argue Amish parents, or elders, make decisions with long term implications for the children born into their communities which restrict the options of the children. The role of the state here then is to decide whether to allow a group the freedom to reject the norms and institutions of the majority. In another instance, say in the case of an off shoot Mormon community that practices polygamy and child marriage the pluralistic, democratic state might decide that such arrangements are too offensive to its own values to tolerate it.

      Just because no one can simply state all the rules for toleration that need to be considered in twenty-five words or less, or even at length in twenty-five thousand words or more doesn't mean that a society's majority can not be devoted to establishing a state built upon pluralism and democracy.

      Mao's point then is hey, if lefties aren't going to quash Amish communities why, alternatively, shouldn't they allow for a monied elite to dominate politics and a racial/religious group to control the culture in the wider society.

      As for Trump's populism, it's a vote getter, -that's why he embraces it- but his is the dangerous exclusionary version of the idea. I, myself, am more of a populist than a Progressive Era progressive, as is Sanders in my estimation. Ours is a class based populism which does not seek favor for members of any particular racial or religious group, gender, or personal lineage.

      Where Sanders believes in limited, controlled immigration in numbers that will not negatively impact on wage rates, Trump, who is at his core a cheap labor conservative, is promoting the fear and anger of his base towards outsiders with his border policy.

      When Trump rails against off shoring you can be sure he has no intention of calling for labor to be treated as stake holders deserving of any golden parachute protections- as Mao well knows Trump in such an instance is cynically striking a pose.

    20. Jeez. I can't find an iota of sense in any of what you typed the above, dembot.

      I can't spend too much time on it, unfortunately. Just take one para:

      "Mao's pulling a fast one when he pretends there's proof no one in their heart of heart believes in the ideal that the legal, cultural, and economic institutions of the democratic state should allow all individuals a chance to earn any place in society regardless of their economic status at birth or the identity group to which they belong because... lefties are willing to tolerate the Amish, QED."

      "pretends there's proof no one in their heart of heart believes" -- where'd you get that? I don't read hearts.

      "...that the legal, cultural, and economic institutions of the democratic state should allow all individuals a chance to earn any place..." blah, blah.

      First of all: "democratic state"? -- what's with zombie pomposity?

      And second: of course the state allows. Who said the state doesn't allow?

      "lefties are willing to tolerate the Amish"

      What? Tolerate? And what 'lefties'? The Amish are the lefties. They are an anarchist society, a-la Kropotkin. And your zombie cult is a far-right bullshit racist ideology, aiming at fragmentation of the working class.


      I said "To take the most obvious example". Amish community is the most obvious example, comprende? Same goes for the working-class communities, upper-middle-class communities, inner-city ghettos, and so on. Your consciousness, your mindset is formed by your environment. That's all. Is this so hard to understand?

  5. These disparities have been recognized by those who work in GATE and the need for better identification methods for finding gifted and talented minority kids long acknowledged. Test scores alone aren't the way to find them, but the other approaches require more time and expertise and are harder to justify, so when school districts are tight for money, identification of minority kids for GATE goes out the window (often along with GATE itself).

    Someone serious about this subject would focus on identification procedures for finding gifted and talented kids. No one here, including Somerby, seems to know anything about that -- nor do the journalists. School districts should be doing better, but they should also be doing better for their GATE kids and most districts are not, figuring that (1) the kids will succeed without special help, (2) GATE is a proxy for high achieving middle class or upper class kids pushed by their parents, (3) it is elitist to care about the top of the curve while the bottom of the curve is struggling, (4) there are better ways to spend limited funds, (5) the school doesn't have the right teachers to put together a GATE program and there are other needs that take precedence, and so on. If GATE is neglected, minority GATE needs are even more neglected. That doesn't mean such kids don't exist. Gifted kids who come from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds don't look the same as regular GATE kids.

    But Somerby doesn't take the discussion that far. He wants to mock journalists and liberals and he doesn't actually care about discussing gifted and talented education.

    What happens when you neglect gifted kids? More suicides among teens, more underachievers who don't realize their potential, less ambitious goal-setting and less likelihood of finding the right career niche, more mischief (vandalism, petty crime) and perhaps even serious criminal behavior, greater likelihood girls and minorities will not pursue non-traditional education and training, more likelihood gifted kids will waste their time and annoy teachers while they wait out graduation with consequent negative attitudes about schooling, society, themselves even, bullying of gifted kids placed in classes where they don't belong and find few friends with like interests, greater likelihood parents will take their kids out of the school system or even attempt home-schooling (with mixed results), loss of talents and abilities that could have enriched the school community but are directed toward self-defeating behavior instead -- you should be getting the picture by now.

    I would expect David to chime in at this point and tell us that his kids were gifted and never had problems, or his wife was gifted and was happy being mainstreamed, so no one else can possibly have experienced any problems. This stuff is all documented by studies, including increased suicides.

    But Somerby is only concerned that no one be called racist because people who are racist vote for Trump out of pique.

  6. Biden's age doesn't matter. He only has to live until the general election is over and Trump is removed from office.

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