TRIBAL DECLINE: Gotham's kids outperform the rest of the state!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019

"Entrenched segregation" to blame!:
What kinds of reporting do we liberals receive from our most revered tribal sachems?

Putting it a different way, to what extent are "elites" within our self-impressed tribe in a tragicomic state of decline?

Consider a remarkable news report in today's New York Times. It concerns the way New York City's public school students performed on this year's statewide reading and math tests.

At a glance, the news to which we refer is remarkably good. It's reported by Eliza Shapiro—and yes, we're quoting Shapiro directly. Here's what her report says:
SHAPIRO (8/23/19): The city performed slightly better than the rest of the state on English, and is now nearly even with the rest of the state on math. Some of New York’s other cities have extremely low achievement rates...
Say what? According to Shapiro's report, New York City's public school kids outscored their peers across the rest of the state in this year's English (reading) tests. Also according to Shapiro, Gotham's kids nearly matched the rest of the state in math.

We can't tell you a whole lot more about this state of affairs. Shapiro's report includes no links to statewide data from these tests. We'll assume that the statewide data aren't publicly available yet.

That said, consider how remarkable that news report seems to be! New York City's public school enrollment is roughly 70% black and Hispanic. The student enrollment in the rest of the state is roughly 65% white.

Given the norms of American public education, it would be a remarkable fact if the public school kids in New York City outperformed (or matched) their counterparts across the rest of the state! But the Times, and Shapiro, don't treat today's news as a remarkable fact.

Here's what they've done instead:

Shapiro's report wasn't placed on the front page of today's print editions. Instead, it's buried at the bottom of page A21. It didn't even make the first page of today's "New York" (local news) section!

Not only that:

Shapiro didn't begin her report with that dramatic news. Instead, she mentions it, very much in passing, in the fifth paragraph of her report.

Indeed, as you can see from the passage we've posted, Shapiro devotes exactly one sentence to this remarkable fact. Instantly, she then reports how low the passing rates were in Rochester's urban schools.

New York City's public school kids outperformed the rest of the state! If true, that seems like a bit of amazing good news. To us, it seems like the kind of news the public should get to hear.

That said, Shapiro's paper is virtually a cult when it comes to public school reporting—a cult of "entrenched segregation." That may explain why this amazing good news is quickly passed over in paragraph 5 of today's news report—a report which appears on page A21 beneath this pair of headlines:
City School Test Scores Inch Up, but Less Than Half of Students Pass
Gaps between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian-American peers remain fixed, raising questions about school segregation.
Within the world of this crackpot cult, all roads must, by rule of law, lead us back to gloomy "questions about school segregation!" This rule has come from the tribal gods to whom these adepts bow.

According to Shapiro's report, Gotham's kids outperformed the rest of the state, but the report's main headline announces that the glass is less than half full. And how did Shapiro begin her report? Bowing low to the gods of the cult, she began her report like this:
SHAPIRO (8/23/19): Entrenched segregation, rising student homelessness and break downs in special education services: Mayor Bill de Blasio will face significant hurdles when it comes to improving the school system this fall.
Quite literally, her first two words were "entrenched segregation!" To which we'll only say, Go ahead! You're allowed to laugh this one time!

Her first two words were "entrenched segregation!" And not only that! Before too long, the New York Times' young adept was telling her readers this:
SHAPIRO: [T]he results also showed wide gaps between how black and Hispanic students have performed compared with their white and Asian-American peers: 28 percent of New York City’s black students passed this year’s math exam, compared with 74 percent of the city’s Asian-American students and 67 percent of white students.

Those disparities have remained fixed during Mr. de Blasio’s tenure, and this year’s numbers are likely to raise fresh questions about his reluctance to implement citywide integration measures.
Will this year's numbers "raise fresh questions about...citywide integration measures?" Dearest readers, of course they will! At the Times, this reaction is required by law!

Mercifully, Shapiro didn't try to link those large achievement gaps to "test prep, full stop," as she has done in the past. But even here, the takeaway has to be the need for "citywide integration."

In a system whose student enrollment is only 15% white, it isn't even especially clear what such measures might look like, or how much we might expect such measures to affect overall achievement. But all roads return to this imagined solution when Shapiro sits to type.

Imagine! Gotham kids outperform the rest of the state, and what we learn is this: the mayor needs to hurry up with "citywide integration!" No attempt is made to explain what such measures might look like. But a remarkable lede gets thrown away in service to this jealous god.

Did New York City's public school kids really outperform the rest of the state on this year's statewide tests? As best we can tell from a quick review, nothing like that has ever happened on the National Assessment of Education Progress (Naep), whose most recent available data come from the 2017 testing.

(Results from the 2019 Naep aren't available yet.)

That said, Shapiro reports that this occurred, and then she does the obvious. She shows no sign of understanding what a remarkable statement she's made.

She barely mentions this remarkable fact. Instead, she bows again to "desegregation" gods.

This is the way the world is sifted for you by this frequently crackpot newspaper. So the world continues to turn at this time of tribal decline.

Just for the record, there are several technical problems with Shapiro's report, aside from her inability to link to the actual data:

An interpretive problem lurks in the fact that 16% of students statewide refused to take the statewide tests this year. Beyond that, all such data are subject to doubt given the waves of cheating which have occurred on statewide testing programs in recent years—waves of cheating our major newspapers all avoid mentioning in their ongoing reports.

(It's generally assumed that the Naep is immune from such administrative misconduct.)

It's also true that "proficiency" levels are always subjective on tests of this type and so, therefore, are "passing rates." This doesn't mean that those achievement gaps aren't both large and real. It means that "less than half the students passed" is a gloomy-sounding statement derived from a subjective measure.

Eliza Shapiro is 28 or 29 years old. She shows few signs of technical expertise or first-hand understanding of public schools. Her editor has no background in education reporting at all.

She does show signs of membership in a journalistic cult. But this is the way our elites have often behaved in these years of tribal decline.

We'd planned to spend the day discussing executive editor Dean Baquet's recent staff meeting at the Times. We'd planned to discuss the things he said about the journalistic status of two significant word clusters: "lie/liar" and "racism/racist."

We'd planned to discuss one staffer's question about the latter term. We'd also planned to discuss the political status of the word "murder"—a topic conservatives are hearing about at the current time, while our tribe is kept in the dark.

We'll try to get to those topics some other day. For today, we decided to go with our tribe's most current propaganda load, hot off this morning's press:

According to the New York Times, Gotham's mainly black and Hispanic kids outperformed their mainly white peers from across the rest of the state! How much does a tribe have to hate black kids, and love tribal lore, to bury so striking a fact?

One other basic point: At one juncture, Shapiro says this:
SHAPIRO: The latest batch of scores, while largely encouraging, do not say much about how students have improved over time. A decade of changes to the state’s testing system have rendered years of results all but meaningless, and the new results can only be compared to last year’s, not to results from previous years.
Sad! Because the state keeps changing its tests, year-to-year comparisons can't reach past last year.

That said, it would be possible to see how well New York City students performed, compared to the rest of the state, in all past years of testing.

Did they ever outperform the rest of the state? Gotham's progress could be tracked as compared to the rest of the state.

62 comments:

  1. Yes, a cult. Liberal zombie cult.

    "she bows again to "desegregation" gods"

    Well, that's because the only purpose of her goebbelsian "reporting" is race-mongering.

    Inciting racial hatred, to increase the turnout of your zombie cult's most loyal (only god knows why) ethnic group.

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    1. It'll never work.
      Republicans are vote suppressors.

      Delete
    2. Republican white supremacists are the ones inciting a race war but liberals are supposedly to blame for race baiting.

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    3. 12:24,
      Mao is referring to Liberal's enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as "race baiting".

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      Trump is a racist.

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  2. "Imagine! Gotham kids outperform the rest of the state, and what we learn is this: the mayor needs to hurry up with "citywide integration!"

    The figures for "Gotham kids" include both white and minority students. Together, all of the kids are outperforming the state. Why wouldn't those numbers still suggest that integration is needed?

    "Eliza Shapiro is 28 or 29 years old. She shows few signs of technical expertise or first-hand understanding of public schools. Her editor has no background in education reporting at all."

    Presumably she went to school. That is first-hand experience. Anything else would be second-hand experience, the way the term "first hand" is usually used. Somerby has no idea what her training may have been in statistics. Better than his, no doubt. He wants to make a big fuss about a slight increase that may not even be statistically significant. Who taught him to do that?

    Somerby doesn't comment on the artificial nature of a city vs state comparison that is entirely meaningless. Some of the state students are in white suburbs with very high incomes, such as Westchester county. Some are in rural areas in small schools without the same kinds of resources as larger cities. It isn't clear whether the city schools were included in the state figures (double counting them). In any case, the city figures seem to be a proxy for race without actually saying so explicitly. Inclusion of white students with minority kids in those big cities wouldn't change minority performance, but it would improve city numbers. Pointing to integration as a means of improving minority performance is an entirely different subject than improving school test scores in cities versus state areas.

    Once again, Somerby doesn't seem as concerned about improving minority education as he does about chastising reporters who don't talk about figures in exactly the way he would.

    It is impossible to consider whether schools are improving or students are improving in a state versus Gotham comparison without considering who has moved where between city and state during the past year. Change the demographics and you change everything. Did more Asians move to or from NYC? Somerby needs to know that before he flaunts those test increases.

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    1. The figures for "Gotham kids" include both white and minority students. Together, all of the kids are outperforming the state. Why wouldn't those numbers still suggest that integration is needed?

      The test scores in question don’t suggest that integration is valuable. That would be the suggestion of studies that have shown that integration helps all students. But that’s not the issue here. The problem is that NYC demographics preclude “citywide integration,” and the Supreme Court has disallowed inter-city integration.

      TDH says, ”[Eliza Shapiro] … shows few signs of technical expertise or first-hand understanding of public schools. @11:06 says

      Presumably she went to school. That is first-hand experience. Anything else would be second-hand experience, the way the term "first hand" is usually used.

      Er, no. First-hand experience is doing the work. Studying the work under those with first-hand experience is second-hand experience. And if your journalism professors don’t have current first-hand experience, yours isn’t even second-hand. Eliza Shapiro majored in history at Columbia.

      But there’s no reason to make up new definitions. According to her NYT bio, Shapiro’s experience previous to joining that paper included five years covering NYC education for Politico, a stint at The Daily Beast, and internships at the New York Observerand Capital New York. These are all online publications, although NYO ceased print publication only in 2016, and the NYT doesn’t say when Shapiro interned there. Politico and The Daily Beast are crap, but then so is Shapiro’s current employer.

      Somerby has no idea what her training may have been in statistics. Better than his, no doubt.

      No doubt? You think a history major with reporting experience at cyber-crap web sites has any training in statistics?

      Once again, Somerby doesn't seem as concerned about improving minority education as he does about chastising reporters….

      Once again and always. That’s what this blog is about.

      It is impossible to consider whether schools are improving….

      Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. TDH has a number of standard complaints about education reporting, and one of them is that general success is always ignored in favor of the trope that public schools are failures spiraling into ever deeper and more dismal failure.

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  3. If Shapiro needs to take the possibility of cheating seriously, why should she emphasize those "slight" increases?

    Even if the passing scores are arbitrary, minorities are still much less likely to pass. Shouldn't that be the most important issue and why wouldn't urging greater integration (a factor known to increase minority academic performance) be a good thing to suggest under these circumstances?

    Every time a reporter gets close to talking about the things Somerby has said he cares about -- minority gaps -- he berates them. That doesn't seem fair.

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    1. The answer of course is that there aren't enough white people in NYC to integrate even one of those damn schools. So why even try?

      In a state that cared about minority performance, the mayor might try more radical policies, such as outlawing private schools with less than 50% minority attendance, providing incentives to white homeowners to move back to the city (and vice versa, incentives for minorities to move out of the city into those white suburbs just outside NYC), busing white students into NYC (or giving them train vouchers so they can commute with their moms and dads), sending book readers into the homes of families with preschool kids (or better yet, free universal child care in years 0-3 with enriched activities and lots of adult interaction), better prenatal care for minority mothers (reinstate WIC as a first step), and so on. Does Bernie propose any of this? How about Somerby? I don't hear him proposing anything except replacement of young NY Times staffers with who? Himself?

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    2. ...busing white students into NYC...

      Just curious, why would you suggest it would be white students who would be bused? Is it because there's something inconvenient about being bused, and therefore it's white students who should be inconvenienced?

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    3. Busing is “inconvenient” only in the case that white students end up at a school with non-white students. Remember that for decades black students were bused past all-white schools to all-black schools, and no one white gave a good goddam about how “inconvenient” busing was.

      White people are such a hoot.

      But relax, CMike. @12:36P wasn’t suggesting forcing white students outside NYC to take buses into NYC. The Supreme Court has disallowed that, protecting your inalienable right not to be inconvenienced by proximity to melanin. In theory, NYC could make its schools so attractive that white parents outside the city would overlook the riff-raff in attendance there and apply for their children’s admittance.

      I say “in theory” because I see no political will to spend the money to make that happen.

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    5. Hm. Between the two, whom I consider to be the smartest posters in this comment section, a whiff of flint. Seems to me, deadrat, that Cmike was being sarcastic.

      Of course, I’ve suggested before that logically, if busing were meant to integrate the public schools, then it seems fair to suggest that whites should be bused to black schools, but this will never happen. Unless it already has. Cue Kamala Harris and Biden!

      Moving on, though it would seem logical in this day to bus white kids to the NYC school system in terms of “proficiency” (a term and definition used by Bob that I didn’t understand very well), that doesn’t seem to be the main intent of busing as it existed. Just sayin’, that debate issue was a lot of hullaballoo over a dead letter.

      I think public schools are a boon. We “just” need to reform the funding mechanisms, pay teachers a decent wage, and eliminate the need for them to buy fucking school supplies for their students.

      When that’s accomplished, everything will be hunky-dory.

      Wait, this just in (Voice from Dog): “Leroy, it’s a little more complicated than that.” To which I respond, “Maybe Bob has some ideas!”

      Dog went silent. I was sad.

      Leroy

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    6. Deadrat writes:

      But relax, CMike. @12:36P wasn’t suggesting forcing white students outside NYC to take buses into NYC. The Supreme Court has disallowed that, protecting your inalienable right not to be inconvenienced by proximity to melanin.

      First off, I couldn't be more relaxed about this. I live more than 2000 miles from New York City and I'm not a student.

      Second, @12:36P was suggesting forcing white students outside NYC to take buses into NYC. @12:36P wrote:

      In a state that cared about minority performance, the mayor might try more radical policies, such as outlawing private schools with less than 50% minority attendance, providing incentives to white homeowners to move back to the city (and vice versa, incentives for minorities to move out of the city into those white suburbs just outside NYC), busing white students into NYC (or giving them train vouchers so they can commute with their moms and dads)...

      Deadrat also wrote:

      Remember that for decades black students were bused past all-white schools to all-black schools, and no one white gave a good goddam about how “inconvenient” busing was.

      I suppose this is a suggestion that whereas Lincoln left it to God to pass judgement on whether two wrongs could make a right,* these being a milder wrongs we can rely on deadrat to discern the justice of such a solution.

      But hold on, this wouldn't be a second wrong at all according to deadrat because there's nothing inconvenient about being bused if you're white unless you're in need of an attitude adjustment to begin with. Deadrat writes:

      Busing is “inconvenient” only in the case that white students end up at a school with non-white students.

      And then there's deadrat's "NYC could make its schools so attractive... white parents" would want their children bused. Maybe some parents would but here's a real world example of a white family neither finding a lengthy school commute convenient even if it was to a whiter school nor the preferred option even given that such a commute would be to a school of superior quality.

      LINK (Seder, himself, went through grade school in Worcester, Massachusetts.)
      ________________
      * If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

      Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

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    7. @12:36P just said "busing." You supplied the "forced." "Maybe some parents would" and maybe some wouldn't. So what? And I don't think "incentives" means what you apparently think it does.

      I suppose this is a suggestion....

      Yeah, it's a suggestion that lotsa people had to take the bus to school. (I'm actually one of them, although I'm so old, the conveyance was horse drawn.) It became a cruel wrong (apparently right up there with slavery) when white students ended up taking buses to schools with non-white students.

      White people are such a hoot.

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    8. Huh? The controversy about busing is over "forced" busing. Jeez, it's not about integrating ridership on school buses, it's not about allowing whites, who volunteer to do so, to take buses to schools which heretofore, have had overwhelming minority enrollments.

      (These comments are by deadrat? Could have fooled me without the sign-in.)



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    9. Yes, the controversy, back in the day (and in myriad places) was about forced busing, as is the current dust-up over Biden's views back then. But that doesn't mean that busing couldn't be a viable tool, at least in theory, as a means to have white volunteers attend "heretofore" minority schools. Indeed, courtesy of SCOTUS, voluntary ridership is just about the only kind allowed at this point. And I’m assuming that @12:36 knows this.

      It’s fair to challenge that assumption or absent that to declare that it’s unlikely that the political and civic will exists to make minority schools attractive enough, but that’s as may be.
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    10. deadrat is at best a pedant, I breeze past his comments with the same attentiveness I give Mao and David in Cal comments - I do take note when he is targeted and corrected, as the other day on DC test scores.

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    12. Cmike, thanks for the link to Seder. Also, sending the full-screen link, since it made me wonder, and led me to a Youtube for Idiots lesson. Pretty cool and simple.

      5:57, deadrat’s pedantry is great. This is, after all, a pedantic website. And who gives a fuck about what you don’t read, except you? Get a nym, then we can talk. Otherwise, TAFFAARD.

      Leroy

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    13. Alas, I didn't read the comment section on the Idiot video, or even try the "trick", which makes me an idiot. I thought at first that this trick had something to do with coding the element, and I was right in my first assessment. It's not as easy as I'd hoped.

      No matter. I'll perhaps keep at it.

      Leroy

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    14. Post for the day. If you're an old guy.

      LINK

      Leroy

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    15. Leroy,

      Go here: LINK

      The only trick is you have to let the video run a little in "Prview Mode" before entering the start and stop times and then generating the link by clicking "Submit."

      (You don't have to run the video through to the part you're clipping but for some reason you do have to let some of the original video run for a few seconds before you can create the clip. In other words you can't just paste in the url, the start and stop times, and submit.)

      Delete
    16. Thanks CMike. Very kind of you to share that information!

      Leroy

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  4. Test scores fluctuate slightly up and Somerby thinks it should be on the front page!

    A specious comparison between white and black students (with official breakdowns coming soon) and Somerby thinks that should be on the front page!

    But it isn't Somerby who wants to inflame racial tensions. He accuses the reporter of doing that by calling for more...wait for it...integration! The radical idea that kids of different racial and ethnic backgrounds should go to school together, to prepare for life in a multicultural society. For some reason Somerby opposes this. Maybe that makes sense to people who live in Baltimore?

    Meanwhile, white supremacists are busily attacking malls in order to start the next race war so that they can have a do-over on the Civil War and protect the purity of white women while they wait for Trump to buy Greenland as their homeland (never mind the 60,000 people who already live there). Students, write a one-page essay on how focusing on black student performance in the Gotham schools (compared to the rest of the state's white students) will help or hurt this effort. Remember to cite VDARE sources.

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    1. Could you point out where TDH accuses Shapiro of inflaming racial tensions?

      Could you point out where TDH opposes "kids of different racial and ethnic backgrounds" attending school together?

      Thanks in advance.

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    2. We get it, you don't deal well with context and implication goes right over your head.

      Somerby says repeatedly:

      "That said, Shapiro's paper is virtually a cult when it comes to public school reporting—a cult of "entrenched segregation."

      You have to put this together with the stuff he has said previously about those calling for integration, the impossibility of it, yadda yadda yadda. TDH definitely opposes desegregation. His main objection is that there aren't enough white kids to go around, but his conclusion, that no one should try, is not justified. Giving up on integration when it has been proven to increase minority academic performance is opposition to kids of different racial and ethnic backgrounds attending school together.

      It isn't me, it is Somerby who keeps lumping minority kids together (Asian and black and Hispanic, as if they were all the same) and comparing them to white kids. The main group that Somerby worries about including seems to be the white kids. But the white kids are key to solving this segregation problem because when white kids attend a school, lots of benefits accrue to all of the kids in that school.

      TDH accuses Shapiro of returning to the segregation problem, a situation he thinks has no solution. He considers that liberal race-baiting, perhaps because he thinks it has no solution.

      You are being tiresome again. Put 2+2 together. It is what everyone else does when they read.

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    3. We get it, you don't deal well with context and implication goes right over your head…You are being tiresome again. Put 2+2 together. It is what everyone else does when they read.

      Oh, believe me when I say I get it. You can’t see past your own assumptions (which you call “context”), and you can’t tell inference from implication.

      OK, I’m tiresome. Guilty as charged. Sometimes I even bore myself. But when I put 2+2 together, I get 4. I understand that you don’t, but that’s not my problem.

      Here’s what TDH said on July 15th in one of his blog entries on the busing program in Charlottesville-Mecklenburg:

      To Hannah-Jones, that court-ordered busing was a good idea on the merits, and she may be perfectly right. That said, it proved to be politically impossible—and in effect, it still is … In our view, it's much better when kids of different "races" and ethnicities go to school together.

      (emphasis mine)

      This simply can’t be squared with your claim that “TDH definitely opposes desegregation.”

      When TDH tells you that the “segregation problem” has no solution, he’s asking you to consider the historical fact that white parents will go to just about any length to prevent their children from having to sit beside non-white children in public-school classrooms. They have repeatedly made this a political reality to executive and legislative branches of government at all levels. Enough so, that they finally got the judicial branch to disallow court-ordered changes to so-called “de facto” segregation.

      Now, you’re free to dispute this claim. The proper way to do so would be to propose a politically-feasible and a judicially-enforceable plan to deal with demographics of school systems like New York City’s. This ain’t easy, so I understand the urge instead to call TDH a racist and a segregationist. But that’s the equivalent of saying 2+2=5.
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    4. Somerby does oppose articles on desegregation attempts, and in doing so, in effect, does nothing.

      Somerby's inaction can be appreciated because the alternative is not helpful.

      Somerby ignores context because it would interfere with his goal of establishing some legacy of influence; some commenters ignore context because of limitations in their cognitive abilities.

      Republicans are racist, calling them out is a good thing.

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    5. Perhaps my limitations in cognitive abilities are to blame, but I can’t follow a word of your response.

      Yes,TDH “does oppose articles on desegregation attempts,” assuming you mean he disagrees with people who propose plans to “integrate” heavily minority school systems. As far as I can tell, his opposition arises from his judgment that the plans are unrealistic. And, yes, he “in effect” does nothing to change the demographics of those school systems. He a blogger who owns a blog nobody reads. What do you expect him of him?

      You say you appreciate (or at least you might if you weren’t writing in the passive voice) TDH’s inaction because “the alternative is not helpful.” What “action” could TDH reasonably take that would be unhelpful?

      You claim TDH ignores context that would prevent him from “establishing some legacy of influence.” What is that exactly? How influential do you think this blog is?

      Yes, Republicans are racist. It’s been their brand since they sold their souls to the Dixiecrats. I believe they’re alien life forms walking amongst us as human. Close to 63M people voted for Trump. Is it a good thing to call them all racist?

      I don’t know, but I can entertain a negative answer without losing my shit.
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  5. Being an expert in education, Bob recognizes that reporting on this subject is ignorant and tendentious at the New York Times, and probably at most other media. As an actuary, I see the same problems in reporting about Social Security, Medicare, and government pensions. Is it the case that mainstream media reporting is ignorant and tendentious in other areas as well?

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    1. We have only Somerby's word that the reporting is ignorant. As a statistics professor, I see no evidence Somerby ever took a stats class in his life. If your own actuarial training led you to become a Republican shill, I wouldn't be inclined to believe you either.

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    2. An actuarial who joined a political party that doesn't understand basic math.
      We're living in alternative universe run by Mel Brooks.

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    3. Except Mao, who lives in an alternative universe run by Max Brooks.

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    4. “Being an expert in education”

      What pray tell makes Bob an “expert” in education? Having been a teacher for a few years 45 years ago and blogging about media stories don’t count.

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    5. @12:26 Politicians from both parties don't seem to understand basic math. That's why so many well-intentioned government programs are ineffective.

      Delete
    6. Name one well-intentioned government program that is ineffective.

      Delete
    7. 7:34

      The military...oh wait, you said well-intentioned, nevermind.

      Delete
  6. https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/08/bernie-sanders-gets-a-d-for-his-climate-plan/

    Even Kevin Drum doesn't like Bernie's climate plan. Time for another withdrawal from the presidential race, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Sad! Because the state keeps changing its tests, year-to-year comparisons can't reach past last year."

    If the state keeps changing its tests, those slightly higher test scores probably don't mean much either. It is probably appropriate to downplay the increase and busy this story on page A21.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Somerby always seems like a gaslighter. If the report is about higher test scores, he complains that it ignores achievement gaps. If the report is about achievement gaps, he complains that it ignores improved scores.

    For example, if the headline had read: “New York City public schools match rest of state in Remarkable Achievement”, he would have railed at the reporter for ignoring those punishing achievement gaps/poor rates of passing and pumping out a “feel-good” education story.

    ReplyDelete
  9. “As best we can tell from a quick review, nothing like that has ever happened on the National Assessment of Education Progress (Naep), whose most recent available data come from the 2017 testing.”

    Perhaps we should wait for the NAEP results. After all, according to Somerby, NAEP is the “gold standard” of testing. So why this breathless impatience on his part to trumpet and label as remarkable numbers that he hasn’t even seen, from a test that may be far less than gold standard?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Isn't there some irony that this article is titled "Tribal Decline" yet it describes test score increases?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the claim is that the article is one in a long line of failed reports about public schools. The decline isn't about trends in test scores; it's about theoretically-liberal news outlets that can't be bothered to get the story straight.

      Delete
    2. Literal to the death.

      Delete
  11. If you are interested in a truly magical experience, meet at the gas station across the street from the Target store in Rosslyn, VA tonight at 1 am (technically tomorrow morning.

    Go inside to the counter and ask to speak with The Butt Cracker.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Here is an article worth reading:
    “The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, and Segregated Neighborhoods – A Constitutional Insult”
    By Richard Rothstein • November 12, 2014

    https://www.epi.org/publication/the-racial-achievement-gap-segregated-schools-and-segregated-neighborhoods-a-constitutional-insult/

    Prof Rothstein makes the case that you cannot fix achievement gaps without integration.

    But, you object, Somerby says integration is unworkable, impractical, and therefore it is a phony liberal tribal hobbyhorse.

    Rothstein makes the case that the racial isolation, particularly of blacks, in inner cities has been the result, not merely of random accidental personal decisions, or what is known as “de facto segregation”, but also in large part a series of policy decisions over decades by local and state entities that have resulted in the present-day segregated, or racially isolated, areas.

    The crux of the matter is that racially isolated, poverty stricken areas in inner cities result in poor academic performance across multiple generations. The only way to fix this , according to Rothstein, is to break up these poverty stricken areas, a process that can reasonably be called “desegregation.”

    So, in his view, integration isn’t just some pleasing liberal fairy tale; it is the heart of the only real solution to the problem of achievement gaps. It may be very, very hard. So be it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rothstein begins by saying, "Social and economic disadvantage – not only poverty, but a host of associated conditions – depresses student performance." I am not sure this is true. "Social disadvantage" is a somewhat vague term. I may have suffered from social disadvantage, living in an immigrant family in the Bronx. Yet, when my family moved to the suburbs, I was not academically behind. Bronx High School of Science is only 21% white, yest the primarily Asian student body gets an outstanding education.

    Obviously there is a big problem with inner city schools. Put another way, there is a big opportunity to improve the lives of the black underclass by improving inner city education. However, it is far from clear to me how this can be best accomplished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, David, I'm sure you were born a poor black child but rose above it all to become an actuary. Do you seriously believe that the stigma attached to being black is the same as that attached to being Asian?

      Are you suggesting that the black students at Bronx High School of Science do not get an outstanding education?

      Delete
    2. @7:31 Is a stigma a disadvantage educationally, or is it a goad to work harder? For me, it was the latter. I was raised to take it for granted that I had to excel at my chosen career. Why do Mormons, Jews and Asians outdo whites academically and financially? Does the stigma on their ethnicities motivate them to do extra well? I think it does.

      I would assume that all the students at Bronx High School of Science get an outstanding, even though the school is not integrated (as integration is defined). That is, the shortage of white classmates there doesn't hurt the education.

      Delete
    3. I would argue your assertions are inaccurate, but this has never phased you.

      On a more fundamental level, here is what you really miss the boat on:

      Outdoing others academically and financially is not doing "extra well". Societies, and the people in them, are happier when they are not based on dog eat dog competitiveness and deathless attempts at accumulating wealth.

      What happened was, you got suckered into these notions because you got conned by those who are served by such notions - largely corporations.

      Delete
    4. Good point, @5:14. A need to excel didn't necessarily make me happier. I sometimes envied people in the majority who (I assumed) were not driven by that need -- people for whom an adequate performance was good enough.

      However, how does this idea translate to the underclass? Would you say that underachieving blacks are happier because their lives are not based on dog eat dog competitiveness? Should we stop being concerned with the racial "gap"?

      Delete
  14. Kevin Drum thinks that boys catch up with girls academically in 8th grade because the boys mature. Actually what happens is that the girls realize that boys don't like girls to be smarter than them, so they dumb themselves down. How clueless does someone have to be about women to misunderstand that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, everybody knows that boys never mature. They just get older.

      Delete
    2. Boys and girls both mature. How would simple maturation cause boys to catch up with girls?

      Women do better than men in college. If boys "catch up" with girls due to maturation, why do they then lose their advantage in college?

      You aren't thinking, deadrat. There are studies on this and Kevin Drum ignores them and substitutes his own off-the-top-of-his-head explanation. The problem is that he doesn't know the literature (and he tends to think psychology is stoopid).

      As Drum points out, the gap between girls and boys is nearly as big as that between black and white students. But I find it strange that no one seems to care about it.

      Delete
    3. Oh, dear. Do I have to mark comments like the one I made @12:58A as facetious? I will if you want, but it takes the fun out of it.

      Delete
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