"Almost a Rosetta stone," top future experts have said: Early this morning, we asked ourselves an unusual question.
We'd just read this news report in this morning's Washington Post. The question we asked ourselves was this:
Have we ever understood a news report less well?
This morning's news report deals with an important topic—the apparently large "achievement gaps" found in American schools. But what exactly did this news report claim, report or reveal?
What the heck did that news report claim? We'll admit we have no real idea.
The report was written by Laura Meckler, a highly experienced national reporter who, through no fault of her own, doesn't have a background in education.
Starting in 1995, Meckler worked for the Associated Press, then for the Wall Street Journal. Despite her lack of background in the field, the Post hired her last June and assigned her to cover education.
There's no expertise like the lack of same when it comes to education reporting! Our biggest newspapers very much tend to work this way with respect to the most important topics concerning the nation's schools and the kids who attend them.
At any rate, we were puzzled this morning as we read, and then reread, Meckler's report. It deals with a very important topic. In today's hard-copy Post, the headlines atop it say this:
Study: Poverty is driving racial gap in test scoresThe study in question was conducted by Stanford's Sean Reardon, whose work we've frequently cited. That said, we were puzzled by the findings of Reardon's latest study of "segregation" after reading Meckler's account.
Segregation concentrates minorities in less-effective schools, researchers find
Tomorrow, we'll review Meckler's account of what Reardon has said. After that, we'll move on to a puzzling claim on the front page of Saturday's Washington Post—a puzzling claim about the degree of "segregation" in Washington, D.C.'s public schools.
For today, we want to tell you what we've been told by several major top anthropologists—by top future experts who were, as always, quite glum.
These scholars are members of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves, the despondent academic group which reports to us from the years which lie beyond the global conflagration they shorthand as Mister Trump's War.
(They communicate with us through the highly unusual nocturnal submissions the haters reject as mere "dreams." They decline to explain the future technology which permits them to do this.)
These scholars have been directing large parts of our work for the past several years. According to these future experts, these two reports in the Washington Post carry great anthropological significance:
"They reflect the problems this species always had with conceptual matters," the scholars glumly said, describing humanity in the past tense, as they persistently do.
"This species was able to create reliable technologies," these despairing sachems have frequently noted. "But when it came to conceptual work, clarity would typically, perhaps almost comically, be the first item thrown overboard."
Wittgenstein tried to address this shortcoming, these anthropologists routinely tell us, but he was thrown under the faculty lounge by later human logicians.
"As such, conceptual confusion only grew," these wizened scholars have said.
Thanks to our floundering nation's brutal racial history, "segregation" is a highly fraught term. Liberal groups have tended to put the term to various tribal uses, or so we've been told by these despairing future scholars.
What has Reardon's study found about our nation's achievement gaps? What was being claimed about public school "segregation" in Saturday's front-page report?
"The lack of clarity was everywhere," these glum hidden figures allege.
What has Professor Reardon found about the role of "segregation" is creating our achievement gaps? Also, just how "segregated" are Washington, D.C.'s public schools? And what about Washington's Yu Ying Public Charter, which the Post's Perry Stein described as being "diverse?"
These are important questions—until we liberals start talking about them, or so a wide range of experts have said. We'll explore their claims all week.
"What's in a word?" William Wordsworth first said. If the word in question is "segregation," many things can be found there!
Total confusion, as always, comes first. We'll start down that road tomorrow.
Tomorrow: What Meckler says Reardon has said