Ineducable is as ineducable does!

FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021

And no, we don't mean the kids: Ineducable is as ineducable does—and no, we don't mean the students.

Some kids are better students than others. Just as a simple matter of fact, some kids are much better students.

Also, some kids are "behind" in school. But none of these kids would be so dumb, or so defiantly performative, as to keep flunking this annual test:

SHAPIRO (4/30/21): The city’s new chancellor, Meisha Porter, called on the state to eliminate the exam in a statement Thursday. “I know from my 21 years as an educator that far more students could thrive in our specialized high schools, if only given the chance,” she said. “Instead, the continued use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test will produce the same unacceptable results over and over again.”

The city in question is New York City. This annual report in the New York Times concerns the relatively low number of black and Hispanic eighth-graders who have been offered admission to Gotham's high-powered "specialized high schools" for nest year's freshman class.

Admission to these high-powered schools is determined by means of a test. In the passage we've posted, the school system's chancellor, Meisha Porter, is saying that plenty of kids who failed to gain admission would be able to cut the mustard at these high-powered schools.

We have no idea if that's true, but let's suppose it is. This is the way the New York Times' Eliza Shapiro has managed to flunk this annual test again:

At no point does Shapiro raise the world's most obvious possibility. If plenty of additional kids could handle the challenging courses of study taught at these high-powered schools, why doesn't the system simply double the number of seats at these schools and the number of kids who get admitted?

Stuyvesant could take over some pre-existing school, creating a Stuyvesant II. So too with the Bronx High School of Science. Twice as many kids could gain the benefit of being challenged in the way these legendary high schools are said to do.

Given the premise the Times accepts, this would be a obvious course of action—but so what? Every year, Eliza Shapiro writes this report and no one makes this suggestion (or some similar suggestion). Instead, people like Shapiro, and her bosses, pursuer an ugly path:

They suggest that the number of seats stay the same, but that higher-performing Asian-American kids should get booted out of these schools so that other kids can attend.

There have been times in the recent past when representatives from the Times have pursued this approach in truly unpleasant ways. No one ever seems to be bright enough to suggest that the number of seats in these schools should simply be expanded.

There is, of course, a dirty little secret standing in the way of such plans. Asian-American kids score so high on tests of this type that, even if you expanded the number of seats, the large bulk of those additional seats would simply go, under current arrangements, to additional Asian-American kids.

The large "achievement gaps" in question exist all over the country. This situation isn't unique to Gotham, or to Gotham's schools.

Indeed, the problem here starts somewhere else, including way back in our history. That said, the gaps in question are very large, and the New York Times has plainly decided that we must never—repeat, never—report or discuss the apparent size of these gaps.

At the Times, reporters and editors are too lazy, and are much too uncaring, to take part in any such discussion. Instead, they write this same report every year. Every year, they flunk this test!

They refuse to have a real discussion about the real interests of actual kids. More than fifty years after Death at an Early Age, they still refuse, on their way to the Hamptons, to create a real discussion of how we got into this situation, and about what needs to be done.

(Not that they would have any idea how to conduct that discussion.)

The Times has flunked this test again. It happens every spring.

More than fifty years after Kozol's book, this annual displays remains purely performative. The term "segregation" is tossed all around to prove the Times' vast moral worth.


36 comments:

  1. "Instead, people like Shapiro, and her bosses, pursuer [sic] an ugly path"

    That's because this isn't about the schools, dear Bob. This is about your liberal cult inciting race wars, in order to stay in power. Simple as that.

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  2. Whoever taught Somerby the word "performative" should be flogged.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As Somerby should understand, the costs involved in replicating those specialized schools include far more than just the square footage in a building. You also need to hire teachers with science training and buy the equipment needed to teach science classes. Those are ongoing costs that make the specialized schools more expensive to operate.

    There is also the issue of the fairness of the selection test itself. When students experience test anxiety, their scores can be artificially lower, misrepresenting their ability to perform in a classroom. Claude Steele has published research showing the impact of stereotype threat on minority students. This doesn't affect white students in the same way. There is also the question of whether the test has been validated -- whether it actually measures what it is purported to measure, prospective performance in the special school, not some other factor that disadvantages minority students relative to white ones, such as cultural familiarity. If the test is not fair, then opening more seats is not the best solution, or even the most obvious one. Fixing the test is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After the massage parlor shootings, Anonymices spent days here talking how difficult life is for asian minorities due to racial stereotypes and racism
      In general.

      Here’s a study that defies what is current conventional wisdom about the level of self-confidence in particular ethnic groups.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263756/

      Asian kids feel less confident than their peers. Blacks kids have the most self-confidence.

      Asian kids doubt their abilities and are so hard on themselves that they consider anything less than academic excellence as being a reason for suicide,

      Theses kids generally blow everyone out of the water.

      Maybe the discussion of these matters needs to be a little less rote and predictable than has been the case.

      Maybe by doing that, we could all learn something that might help everyone.

      Delete
    2. Stereotype threat isn't about self-confidence. It is about worrying that if you do poorly, you will confirm the stereotype. For Asian kids, the stereotypes about their ability are positive not negative. So, they do not show the stereotype threat effects on tests.

      When I mention Claude Steele, you should google him and read what his theory is about. It has a great deal of data backing it up. Data = facts. A single article about self-confidence (which is a different phenomenon) doesn't negate Steele's findings at all.

      Calling a discussion that is consistent with research (e.g., data and facts) "rote" and "predictable" doesn't negate those studies either. You would expect consensus findings in a field to be predictable (we call it "reliable") because it conforms to reality and thus becomes common knowledge.

      Meanwhile, you don't know what you are talking about. For example, what role do you think low expectations might play in the inflated self esteem of black kids?

      Delete
    3. “ Meanwhile, you don't know what you are talking about. For example, what role do you think low expectations might play in the inflated self esteem of black kids?”

      You’ve hit the nail on the head.

      Now ask Mayor de Blasio this question in the context of changing the standards of these schools and the real life results as well as the message this sends to all the kids he purportedly wishes to help.

      Delete
    4. Cecelia, expecting more of black students would entail admitting more of them to specialized high schools with the expectation that they will do well there.

      Delete
    5. You’ve admitted them upon the basis of lowering the entrance standards and penalizing and turning away kids who are academically superior.

      These schools do have black kids who are admitted on the same basis of academic excellence as their white and Asian peers. That fact gives lie to all the theories in the world as to why this standard is unfair.

      The entire farce reveals the misplaced concern of doing this while black kids are behind all ethnic groups in regular public schools.

      There’s your low expectations played out daily.

      Delete
    6. You’ve admitted them upon the basis of lowering the entrance standards and penalizing and turning away kids who are academically superior.

      These schools do have black kids who are admitted on the same basis of academic excellence as their white and Asian peers. That fact gives lie to all the theories in the world as to why this standard is unfair.

      The entire farce reveals the misplaced concern of doing this while black kids are behind all ethnic groups in regular public schools.

      There’s your low expectations played out daily.

      Delete
    7. The turned away kids are not academically superior just because they have higher test scores. The score is not the kid. The measurement is not the thing being measured. If I use a ruler to measure the length of your foot, the ruler is not your foot.

      These kids have capabilities that are not measured by the entrance exam. Curiosity, desire to learn, creativity, motivation, previous experiences -- none of these things are measured by that test, but they are important to doing science. There is no evidence that such a test is the best way of finding kids who will benefit from that school, especially kids who are more diverse than the ones the test was created to select (white, upper middle class kids). There is no evidence that the kids selected will make the best scientists either.

      You make a whole bunch of assumptions about who the best students are, but they remain just assumptions. Another name for such assumptions is bias.

      Delete
    8. Creativity, motivation, and previous experiences are all good qualities, but the deal makers would be little things such as math skills, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.

      You would start there. That’s ground zero. Yes, they can be measured by testing.



      Delete
    9. Every dembot here (oh, okay, let's be generous: almost every dembot) flunks the Turing test. No wonder they're programmed to hate tests.

      Delete
    10. Cecelia, they cannot be measured fairly using that test. If you won't look at the research on this, then we have nothing more to talk about.

      Delete
    11. There’s nothing “fair” about who aces a test and why it is that they do.

      Delete
    12. Googled to Turing test, Mao.

      Yep.

      Delete
    13. Ha ha ha ha, Mao who is most likely a bot himself, just called Democrats bots who cannot pass a test designed for semi-intelligent virtual agents. What a funny joke!

      And now Cecelia thinks she knows what the Turing test is herself, and she thinks it is funny too, to equate political opponents with non-human pieces of software. Because dehumanizing people is what right-wing fascist types do, so that they can then treat them as less than human.

      Cecelia, what on earth is wrong with you?

      Delete
    14. There is no test that delineates Anonymices from regular people.

      Their fatuous posts are the definitive “tell”.

      Delete
  4. "They refuse to have a real discussion about the real interests of actual kids. "

    Somerby himself never engages in a real discussion of those interests either. He obviously thinks it is sufficient to just point out that the gaps exist, without ever talking about how to address them, the efforts that are already in progress, and how children learn. Personally, I think he is unqualified to engage in such a discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kozol had nothing to say about specialized science high schools.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Remedial reading for Somerby:

    https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/04/the-post-brown-america-looks-an-awful-lot-like-the-pre-brown-america

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  8. “More than fifty years after Kozol's book, this annual displays remains purely performative. The term "segregation" is tossed all around to prove the Times' vast moral worth.”

    Guess who “tosses around” the term “segregation?” Why, it’s none other than Jonathan Kozol in this essay where he discusses the specialized high schools in NYC:

    “Segregated Schools: Shame of the City”
    https://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/education/3118-segregated-schools-shame-of-the-city

    Somerby is an ass.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Funny isn't it? It is claimed that tests were invented by white men back in the early 20thc to make whites look good and minorities look bad. But the result was that they made two historically despised minorities look better than whites, Jews and Asians. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reason number 2,987,482 why white supremacy is nonsense.

      Delete
    2. The stereotype of both Jews and Asians is that they are studious and smart. The stereotype of black students is that they are stupid and lazy. Which group's scores are most likely to be harmed by their stereotype? Worrying about that stereotype (e.g., about your own abilities) distracts from the concentration needed to do well on any test. It diverts cognitive resources.

      If you tell men that Asians do better than whites on math tests, then give them a math test, their scores will be lower than if you had not reminded them of that stereotype. Do you have to issue such a warning to depress scores? No, the context is enough to remind people of the expectations for them.

      This effect, called stereotype threat, is not the only reason why black students do less well, but it is enough to make the difference between being above a cutoff or below it, in a highly competitive situation. Does it mean that black students cannot perform if admitted? No, absolutely not. Black students routinely perform better than their test scores would predict.

      With tests such as the SAT and ACT, there has been a great deal of effort invested in perfecting the questions and validating the test. With an ad hoc science high school admission test, the same expertise has not been devoted to constructing the questions and making sure they are unbiased and good predictors of actual performance. That makes the use of such a test much more likely to serve only the function of excluding large numbers of students in favor of those who test well. Testing well is not the same as performing well in class. There is some overlap, but many students who would do well in class will be excluded. When there are only so many seats, exclusion is not a big deal to administrators. Unfortunately, in this case, it is introducing a racial bias into who gets selected that hurts black students more than other groups.

      Delete
  10. After many decades as an educator, I just have to say I'm glad I'm retiring. Education as we do it in this country is a large-scale hazing.

    There is a famine mentality that assures that we can only have a few people excel.

    I hate to get all superstitious, but the Bible tells me that we are all made in God's image. All of us. Just not a narrow few.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not everyone. Just Ashkenazi Jews and Asians.

      Delete
    2. Cecelia, you no doubt think you've said something hilarious, but your remark needs to be further amended:

      Not everyone. Obviously not Cecelia.

      Delete
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