Empire (State) of the scolds: On March 3, 2014, readers of The Daily Beast were handed a pleasing jolt.
The possibly pleasing Beast report had been written by "Conor P. Williams, PhD." Williams was identified as "a Senior Researcher in the Education Policy Program at New America."
Williams was describing a new report from The Civil Rights Project, a high-profile institute which was founded at Harvard, then migrated to UCLA.
The pleasing jolt delivered to readers concerned, or at least seemed to concern, New York City's public schools. According to the Civil Rights Project, New York City had "the most segregated schools in the country," or so Williams seemed to be saying.
Is that really what the Civil Rights Project had found? No such claim is made in its iconic report—but here's the way Williams began in The Beast, double headline included:
WILLIAMS (3/3/14): The Real Reasons New York has the Country’s Most Segregated Schools/Had The Civil Rights Project actually found that New York City had "the most segregated schools in the country?" Two long paragraphs in, that seemed to what The Beast's Ph.D. was saying. Indeed, Williams explicitly made that statement in his opening paragraph.
New York schools are the most segregated in the country according to a new study, but blaming charter schools, which only serve 6% of city students, won’t fix the real problems.
New York City occupies a special place in the American consciousness as the tumultuous seat of our financial markets and the buzzing capital of our culture. Most importantly, it’s the city that exemplifies American pluralism, the “melting pot” that attracts new immigrants looking for work and college graduates drawn from their hometowns by the promise of excitement and diversity. So, when it turns out that the melting pot has the most segregated schools in the country, as a new study reports, it suggests that something has gone very wrong in our approach to education.
New York’s appeal hangs on its diversity and its image as a city where everyone can try, get, and be anything. But the new UCLA’s Civil Rights Project report shows that the city’s vaunted cosmopolitanism masks sharp divisions within its schools.
That said, as Williams continued, it became less clear what he was saying about the new report. In paragraphs 3 and 4, Beast readers were taken through a bit of a maze, as is common in modern American journalism:
WILLIAMS (continuing directly): John Kucsera and Gary Orfield, the report’s authors, found that New York State has the nation’s most segregated public schools—dubiously led by the demographic patterns in New York City’s schools. They found that “over 90 percent of black students in the New York metro attended majority-minority schools—those with 50% or greater minority students.” Perhaps even more telling, around three-quarters of these students attended schools with student bodies that were at or above 90 percent minority students.In paragraph 3, Williams correctly stated the basic finding of the iconic UCLA report, in which New York State is said to have "the most segregated schools in the country."
These sorts of figures would represent a shocking failure of educational equity wherever they occurred in the United States, but that they come from New York City? That’s news. School segregation is supposed to be a red state problem plaguing those sleepy hometowns—it hardly fits New York’s reputation as a global hub for diversity.
But in paragraph 4, he might have seemed to be veering back to his apparent claim that New York City had been so accused—and in paragraph 3, he'd thrown in a reference to "the New York metro." This further confused the issue, though readers may not have known.
Conor Williams, PhD, produced a true jumble this day. He gave readers no ultimate way to know what the Civil Rights Project had actually said—that "New York [State] has the most segregated schools in the country," as compared to the other forty-nine states.
"New York [State] has the most segregated schools in the country?" We're quoting the first sentence in the Civil Rights Project's Executive Summary—but those are our brackets, and those are our italics!
Our brackets, and our italics! In short, at least to some extent, the conflation of New York City and New York State starts within the careless writing and jumbled scholarship found in the UCLA report itself, a matter we'll detail tomorrow.
Just for clarity's sake, did UCLA's Civil Rights Project actually say that New York City had "the most segregated schools in the country?"
Just for clarity's sake, no, their report didn't say that.
In the first paragraph of the report's Executive Summary, Professors Kucsera and Orfield say that New York City is "home to the largest and one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation." That's about as specific as it gets within the report about the New York City schools.
At no point do Kucsera and Orfield, employing their sometimes bewildering definitions of "segregation," attempt to define where New York City ranks among the nation's million and one public school systems, or even among the public school systems of the nation's largest cities.
In support of the assessment we've quoted about the New York City schools, the professors offer a footnote citing this report in the New York Times—a report which says that Gotham's public schools "are among the most segregated in the country."
The Times report seems to say that the public schools of Chicago and Dallas are more "segregated" than those of New York City, with Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles not far behind.
That said, the Times report made only the most slapdash attempt to explain the way it measured "segregation," and it made no attempt to say how many school systems had been included in its study. This is the kind of scholarship on which Kucsera and Orfield were prepared to rely as they published a highly influential report on an extremely important subject.
At any rate, no, Melania! Kucsera and Orfield didn't say that New York City had "the most segregated schools in the country." But for whatever it may be worth, these inaccurate claims—about the New York City public schools, and about what Kucsera and Orfield actually said—have never quite managed to die.
Williams seemed to be making the inaccurate claims in his real-time report for The Beast. In fairness, though, that was then—and even now, people keep reciting the pleasing, inaccurate claims.
Headline writers especially seem to love the unfounded claim about the New York City schools. Last summer, to cite one example, The Observer published a report which cited the UCLA study beneath this exciting headline (June 14, 2018):
NYC Has the Most Segregated Schools in the Country. How Do We Fix That?The claim in that headline was tribally pleasing. One month later, The Atlantic followed suit. A profile of Gotham's new public school chancellor appeared beneath these headlines (July 23, 2018):
Can Richard Carranza Integrate the Most Segregated School System in the Country?In paragraph 2 of this Atlantic report, the author correctly stated that The Civil Rights Project had found "that New York State has the most segregated public schools in the country."
A new chancellor is talking a big game about making New York City’s schools more equal—but that’s the easy part.
But it was becoming a habit among headline writers to embellish this pleasing claim. Earlier this year, WPIX Channel 11 News continued the tradition, published a widely-cited, widely-reprinted report under this inaccurate, pleasing headline:
NYC has the country’s most segregated schools; will the city’s plan to change that make its best schools worse?Within the world of the liberal press, advancement of this inaccurate claim has almost become a family tradition. In part, this unintentionally comical syndrome reflects the ability of the modern press to get almost everything wrong, no matter how important the topic in question may be.
In part, though, this reign of error represents something else. It represents the imperial, scolding culture of modern pseudo-liberalism—a scolding culture within the which the pseudo-liberal engages in his or her "performative virtue," even as he or she helps the Donald J. Trumps of the world attain and maintain power.
In fairness, the pleasing if inaccurate claim about New York City's public schools is almost as pleasing when it is made about the schools of New York State, concerning whom Kucsera and Orfield did state a doomsday judgment.
Almost surely, few people who advance the claim about New York State could explain the methodology from which the pleasing claim is derived—a methodology we ourselves still don't understand, as we'll note tomorrow.
Still, the claim about the schools of New York State is highly pleasing within the syndrome anthropologists describe as "Contemporary Liberal Scold Culture." Within the past year, it has become common to repeat the claim in connection with the Mayor de Blasio/New York Times crusade to "integrate" New York City's public high schools—rather, to "integrate" that handful of high schools which serve the city's "elite" students, while ignoring everyone else.
Within the realm of Liberal Scold Culture, the claim about the schools of New York State triggers the performative act in which the pseudo-liberal or pseudo-progressive complains that New York State is even worse than Mississippi or Alabama (examples tomorrow). In mounting the ramparts in this manner, the pseudo-liberal and/or the performative radical or progressive gets to declare that Amerikan betrayal of its ideals is far, far worse than Mommy and Daddy ever said.
This particular piece of performative scolding has been increasingly common over the past year. According to anthropologists, when the pseudo-liberal or "performative scold" adopts this performative moral stance, he or she will typically engage in these concomitant behaviors:
He or she will typically fail to make any attempt to explain the difficulties involved in "desegregating" the public schools of New York City or New York State.
He or she will fail to explain the obvious reasons why states like New York State, California and Illinois top the Kucsera/Orfield list of states with "the most segregated schools."
Most significantly, he or she will fail to explain that the schools of our biggest cities will never be "desegregated" in the childish way the performative liberal childishly urges us to imagine.
He or she will fail to explain that people who want to serve the children who attend those schools need to move beyond childish crying about "segregation," even though the reduction of racial isolation will presumably be a good thing. Such people must also look for ways to improve instruction within our "segregated" schools, and for ways to improve the daily experiences of the children who attend them.
For reasons which are blindingly obvious, those racially imbalanced schools won't be going way, whether within the state of New York or within New York City. It's time for anthropology's "performative liberal" to come to terms with this fact.
According to future anthropologists, people hate us pseudo-liberals because of our dominant "Scold Culture." In our own view, people aren't obviously wrong when they feel that way about our tribal culture, and our childish performative scolding does, in fact, help Donald J. Trump maintain his hold on power.
Tomorrow: Shoddy scholarship and scold
Refuting the statement that New York City has the most segregated schools in the country doesn't make NYC schools less segregated.ReplyDelete
The difference between "the most segregated" and "one of the most segregated" is surely trivial, but this is what Somerby hangs his hat on.
Then he blames liberals. That is the real point -- liberals are to blame for all of civilization's ills. Future athropologists said so.
What a stupid waste of time reading this blog has become.
I did a google search on the word "performative" (as in performative pseudoliberal, Somerby's usage) and found a load of articles in conservative publications criticizing liberals and feminists. What a surprise!ReplyDelete
Ahhhh, you did a google search! Isn't that just adorable? And you found a "load" of "conservatives" spouting their usual crap. Who cares? Is TDH right about liberal posturing or not?Delete
Hint: the answer will be independent of anything "conservatives" have to say.
Somerby cannot complain about liberal posturing while he is pretending to be a liberal (the ultimate posturing) while posting nothing but conservative talking points and attacks on liberals. He doesn't fool anyone by using the term "pseudoliberal."Delete
I care that someone might come here and think that Somerby's ramblings represent any liberal thought.
In fact, TDH can complain about anything he damn pleases on his blog, and he can represent himself on the political spectrum wherever it pleases him. It turns out -- and I checked -- you're not the arbiter of who's liberal and who's not.Delete
I noticed you didn't answer my question. Is TDH right about liberal posturing or not?
Hint: it doesn't have to be a single judgment on all TDH writes.
I might care that someone would come here, read comments like yours, and think that was an example of liberal thought.
But it's not to worry for either of us. Few come here but trolls; David in Cal, our Village Idiot; spammers; and anonymous ignoramuses.
"I noticed you didn't answer my question. Is TDH right about liberal posturing or not?"Delete
No, he is wrong.
I think he's wrong about the CRI New York state report. Why do you think he's wrong?Delete
TDH largely complains about pseudo-liberals, most seem unconvinced this is an actual population that exists. TDH may be right but just unable to convince anyone, anything is possible.Delete
Liberals, by definition, want to promote equality and justice, both socially and economically. They want to help those in need; however, currently liberals have diminished agency. Let's see what happens, we need to inspire our side to get out and vote, we do outnumber the other side. Certainly black voters and other segregated minorities could play a vital role.
As many have noted, TDH quibbles over trivial aspects of issues.
Then offers tepid solutions:
"people must also look for ways to improve instruction within our "segregated" schools, and for ways to improve the daily experiences of the children who attend them"
Then makes unfounded assertions:
"our childish performative scolding does, in fact, help Donald J. Trump maintain his hold on power"
Then gets just nutty, inaccurate and oddly sneering, sounds like he needs a friend:
"the pseudo-liberal and/or the performative radical or progressive gets to declare that Amerikan betrayal of its ideals is far, far worse than Mommy and Daddy ever said"
It seems uncontroversial that segments of America have betrayed it's ideals worse than previous generations said, unless you were listening to Michael Parenti or Daniel Sheehan (both more interesting than Somerby).
Those concerned about segregation in schools do not limit it to just racial issues, but also economic and housing issues.
The 1974 Supreme Court case Milliken v. Bradley seems to have played a large role in this issue, even led to gerrymandering school districts:
Milliken v. Bradley
Here is another look at the issue with historical context:
FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SEGREGATION THEN, SEGREGATION SINCE
Some NYC issues:
Segregation in NYC Schools is No Accident
A somewhat balanced look:
The Nation’s Most Segregated Schools Aren’t Where You’d Think They’d Be
This one has maps:
America's public schools remain highly segregated
Do New York City’s school attendance boundaries encourage racial and ethnic segregation?
Some commenters here seem rather addled by and pissy at other commenters, the ones with nyms seem particularly out of sorts, I hope everyone is having a good day.
Virtue signaling — AKA performative — has harmed the people liberals claim to care about.ReplyDelete
David in Cal
Don't take a knee. Shoot the cops instead.Delete
I'm hearing you loud and clear, David.
Thanks for all you do.
"...for ways to improve the daily experiences of the children who attend them"ReplyDelete
Yeah, Bob, "but what about the children?"
But what about the adults, dear Bob? You think they enjoy living in the ghetto?
...but perhaps they do enjoy their ghetto lifestyle, who the fuck knows. In which case, how do you intend "to improve the daily experiences" of their children? Are you suggesting ... oh, Bob, no! ... to separate children from the families?
Nothing about Trump abandoning tariffs when the Establishment Elite yanked his leash?
Let's check in on Jared Kushner, Donald J Chickenshit's amazing son-in-law and Secretary of Everything in his administration, and see how business is going:Delete
...report that a company partially owned by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner received millions in investments from an unknown overseas source is reason to investigate whether he violated the emoluments clause, an ex-chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush opined.
Cadre, a real estate company co-founded and still owned in part by Kushner, has received $90 million in investments from an unknown source overseas since 2017, The Guardian reported Monday based on corporate filings as well as interviews. The funds to Cadre, in which Kushner retains a holding worth $25 million to $50 million, were funneled through a Goldman Sachs-run vehicle in the Cayman Islands.
The foreign investors in Cadre through Goldman Sachs were not disclosed or required to be revealed, but two sources told The Guardian that some money to the Cayman Islands vehicle came from another overseas tax haven and about $1 million came from Saudi Arabia.
It seems, business is good, very very good.
File this under, DJ Chickenshit - draining the swamp.
I say what I want when I want to say it.ReplyDelete
I love itDelete
“the pseudo-liberal and/or the performative radical or progressive gets to declare that Amerikan betrayal of its ideals is far, far worse than Mommy and Daddy ever said.”ReplyDelete
Let’s look at the achievement gaps:
Average scale scores for grade 8 mathematics, by race/ethnicity used to report trends, school-reported and jurisdiction: 2017, national:
Asian/Pacific Islander 310
American Indian/Alaska Native 268
By the the rough rule of thumb which says that ten points on the NAEP scale is roughly equal to one academic year, that puts African American kids more than 3 years behind their white counterparts.
These gaps have essentially not changed in 40 years of NAEP testing.
The numbers are even worse for New York City:
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
Given that these gaps show no real change since the days of Mommy and Daddy, it could be argued that the betrayal of “Amerikan” ideals is at least as bad as it ever was.
And there is no reason to believe that these black/white gaps will ever change without desegregation, as difficult as that process may be.
The blogger who is scolding liberals for advocating the only solution that will fix the gaps needs to look in the mirror when he talks about “performative scolding.”
OK, what’s your plan to “desegregate” TDH’s favorite school district, the Laredo Independent School District, which is 99% Hispanic?Delete
TDH’s complaint is that the word “segregation” in the CRI report on New York state will lead people to think the situation in NY is the same one that the Jim Crow south worked so hard to install. And presumably, people will consider solutions that are inspired by that problem and that aren’t apropos to NY today.
I think he’s right about the word choice, but wrong about the report. The report does not make the simplistic mistake that TDH fears, and it does not propose solutions at odds with the real problem. The trouble is that the solutions are pipe dreams, and the report’s own historical overview will tell you that (and why).
So do you know what to do?
I hope so because I sure don’t.
Are you arguing that the city of New York has no white children? Laredo has 5% white population but the school is 99% Hispanic. There are some white kids not attending public school. It might benefit both the white and Hispanic kids if they did.Delete
Is Laredo next to a city with a greater white population? I don't know, since I do not live anywhere near there. But if they were, they might exchange students and both groups of kids would benefit.
If TDH is arguing that there is no point in trying to do anything about isolated students (is that a better term than segregated?), I think he is making a mistake.
My daughter's high school in Irvine exchanged students with a high school on the Navajo Reservation. Both groups of students benefited, on a personal level. I do not know if it affected the students academically, but how can widening a child's experience not help education?
I realize that you do not want to engage in substantive discussion about anything except what you think TDH actually said, but I believe TDH is wrong if it is saying what you attribute to it.
Are you arguing that the city of New York has no white children?Delete
Nope. It has plenty of white children. Only 15% of its public school attendees are white, though.
Laredo has 5% white population but the school is 99% Hispanic. There are some white kids not attending public school. It might benefit both the white and Hispanic kids if they did.
Let’s take that last statement as a matter of faith. So what’s your plan? Presumably, the white kids not attending public school are in parochial or other private schools. How do you plan to get them into public school?
For now, let’s suppose you could do that by fiat. Class size in Laredo secondary schools is pretty good — 15-16. So now, a student in a six-class day can expect to see one white student during the school day . Once you’ve herded all the available white students into public schools, that student would expect to see one white student per class.
Does that count as “desegregation”?
Is Laredo next to a city with a greater white population?
Nope. Laredo is the largest city in Webb County, Texas. North of 94% of Webb Country residents live in Laredo. The nearest large city is San Antonio with a population of about 1.5M, about 25% white. But that’s 160 miles (3 counties) away.
I don't know, since I do not live anywhere near there.
I live over 1300 miles from Laredo, about as far away as you do. Didn’t stop me.
But if they were, they might exchange students and both groups of kids would benefit.
We’ve assumed the conclusion. But the conditional doesn’t obtain.
If TDH is arguing that there is no point in trying to do anything about isolated students (is that a better term than segregated?), I think he is making a mistake.
The word segregation in this context is fine with me. I’ve read the CRI report on NY state, so I’m not confused by the authors’ use of the term. “Economic isolation” might be better, although that makes it sound like some pristine wilderness, untouched because of natural barriers. The isolation we’re talking about was engineered over decades by redlining, housing policy, mandated methods of school funding, and job discrimination.
As far as I remember, TDH hasn’t ventured an opinion on what to do about these isolated students. He’s restricted himself to criticizing the way the media handles the discussion of this isolation.
My daughter's high school in Irvine exchanged students with a high school on the Navajo Reservation. Both groups of students benefited, on a personal level.
A touching story. Irvine and the Navajo Nation are about 600 miles apart. The daily commute must have gotten exhausting.
I do not know if it affected the students academically, but how can widening a child's experience not help education?
I have no idea, but I’ve already conceded this point. Surveys show that a healthy majority agrees with you in that most people think it’s a good idea for other people’s children to study with a diverse group of fellow students.
The question is how to provide your daughter’s experience locally and routinely.
I realize that you do not want to engage in substantive discussion about anything except what you think TDH actually said
I’m happy to discuss anything that interests me, and that includes the CRI report. I may have misled you with my comments objecting to others’ refusal to deal with what TDH says as opposed to what they think TDH implies.
And I’m fluent in English, a native speaker in fact. So I don’t have to guess what it is that TDH actually writes.
but I believe TDH is wrong if it is saying what you attribute to it.
Sorry, I’m having a little trouble with your pronoun antecedents, but I don’t want to mislead you. TDH hasn’t discussed the CRI report, and the conclusion about the report’s solutions is mine and mine alone.
Now I may be wrong in my pessimism.
I sure hope you can show me where I’m in error.
11:31 why do you hope 8:14 can show you where you are in error? You always sound like an undersized schoolyard punk trying to instigate a fight. Nobody engages with you because you do not engage normally; similarly nobody takes on a horse fly as a pet.Delete
I do not mean any insult, it is just concerning to see a fellow human suffering as you do. With your empty pugnaciousness I am sure you will not likely respond well to my outreach, which is fine, maybe introspection will occur at any rate by my seed-planting. From the acorn grows the mighty oak.
I would not want to show anyone where they are in error, not in the manner you engage in, and in your case I am not clear what you are asserting. Are you claiming that it will be difficult to deal with the school segregation issue? Could you find anyone to disagree to such a basic notion?
Most of the articles on the subject I have read all indicate that a solution must include housing integration. This is indeed a hot topic that many communities and states are engaged in.
Are you saying anything more than that? If so, please repeat, I guess I missed it.
Hey there, my own personal troll. Welcome back.
Couldn't stay away, could you?
3:25 no, 2:20 is not me.Delete
3:25, 90 percent of the anonymous comments are actually made by just me, it is a very elaborate scheme all centered around you.Delete
At any rate, I take from 2:20, who is not 9:52, that 11:31 offered nothing in their long winded yet empty response to 8:14. 3:25 sheepishly admits to this with a weak "oh yeah?", Lina Wertmuller beautifully responded to those such as 3:25 with an affirmative "oh yeah"
“LONG-RUN IMPACTS OF SCHOOL DESEGREGATION & SCHOOL QUALITY ON ADULT ATTAINMENTS”
Rucker C. Johnson - NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
“The 2SLS estimates shown in Table 2 indicate significant positive effects of desegregation- induced increases in school spending on blacks’ educational attainment and adult wages, which are an order of magnitude larger than the corresponding naïve OLS estimates. The beneficial effects of desegregation-induced increases in school spending for blacks are particularly pronounced when simultaneously accounting for changes in racial school segregation (columns (3), column (6)). In contrast, these 2SLS models reveal small, insignificant effects for increases in racial integration for both blacks and whites...”
This is what Somerby is getting at, even though, like everyone here, he appears to have never actually read any of the research.
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