"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 PassWithin 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.
Gaps between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian-American peers remain fixed, raising questions about school segregation.
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.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!
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.
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.