The ‘Achievement Gap’ Fraud

John T. Bennett, American Thinker, June 15, 2011

Our educational system is self-destructing because of a fraud known as the “achievement gap.” One result of that fraud is that public school bureaucrats are taking away opportunities from good students in a misguided effort to help underperforming students.

When the mainstream media reports on progressive social policies, the results can be astonishing. A recent Washington Post “Metro” section featured a stunning educational policy: a school policy that ruins opportunities for bright students in order to help the less bright students (“Dumping honors classes for AP,” May 22). The Post reports that honors classes are being abolished from the curriculum in Fairfax, VA, and many schools across the country. The purpose of abolishing the honors courses: to help “underrepresented minority students.” With that article, the Post unwittingly exhibited the core of the problem with education in this country: The flawed system and students’ low culture. Each factor combines in a downward spiral to give us the bad educational results we have today.

{snip}

The very concept of the “achievement gap” is a fraud. It assumes that the correct result in schools is equal educational outcomes among different ethnic groups. The same is true of the concept of “underrepresentation.” There is a simple problem with these concepts: It is resolutely ignorant to assume that there will be equal outcomes among ethnic groups. Thomas Sowell has richly detailed the myriad ways in which different ethnic groups have always behaved differently and had disparate outcomes in life, around the world, and throughout history. As Sowell points out, there is no basis in human experience or in logic to expect that different ethnic groups would have identical outcomes. Different ethnic groups have vastly different attitudes, habits, and preferences with regard to many aspects of life, including education. Berkeley Professor John Ogbu (1939-2003), who was black, concluded exactly that in his incredibly important work on black student achievement. Ogbu concluded that “black students did not generally work hard,” he wrote. “In fact, most appeared to be characterized by low-effort syndrome. The amount of time and effort they invested in academic pursuit was neither adequate nor impressive.”

The expectation of equal outcomes only exists because of a radical ideology of liberal equality that has rooted itself like a tick into the public education system. {snip}

As the Post article points out, parents of “high-achieving students” in “suburbs” don’t want this good option removed. We don’t hear from the parents of the “underrepresented minorities”; we don’t know if those parents want to eliminate opportunities for those from the “suburbs.” But the social engineers in charge of Fairfax schools have determined that the good students’ interests are not worth as much as dubious, experimental efforts to advance the “underrepresented minority” students’ interests.

{snip}

The pious fraud about the “achievement gap” is more than just bunk social science and bad policy; it is harming the interests of good students. “Underrepresented” students are not going to improve their performance in a way that justifies the cost imposed on good students.

{snip}

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  • Robert Binion

    A headline yesterday read of “infestation” and this writer refers to a “tick.” Before long, the righteous will label “queen and drone” racist code language.

  • Anonymous

    The “achievement gap”, is the one area in racial differences that I believe is universally understood. IMO, ALL, including those in academia, understand that blacks bring up the rear in results and always will. I don’t believe anyone really believes that you can close the “gap”, but for PC appearances, they must play the game and pretend that all are of equal intelligence and with some effort, test results will come out basically the same for all students. There is just far too much evidence out there for anyone to think otherwise.

    You start with the assumption years ago that all races are of equal intelligence. Then 60 years of evidence shows you that that is not the case. But by that time (today), the established doctrine cannot be argued with, less you be branded a racist. The one thing that can end a career immediately. Add to this the vast amounts of money that school systems receive, for promising to close the gap, and you can see that this idiocy is going to be with us for some time. If we don’t run out of money first, which IMO, we will. And soon.

    Anyway, bottom line here, I don’t believe that professors, teachers, school unions, administrators, politicians or Joe Sixpack, really believes blacks and other “minorities” can be brought up to the level of Whites and some Asians. Meanwhile those capable of great achievement are held down so the fantasy that Sheniquia and Jose can be brought to the level of Whites can be perpetuated. And the beat goes on.

  • E. Pluribus Pluribus

    “The expectation of equal outcomes only exists because of a radical ideology of liberal equality that has rooted itself like a tick into the public education system.”

    ====

    That’s a reasonably accurate description of animating purpose of government monopoly schooling. It is a purpose, which despite the differing genetic heritages of the various racial groups, that has been realized to a much great extent than the public appreciates. For example, consider the steep decline in the U. S. in top scores on the Verbal SAT in recent decades.

    On BookTV.org, E. D. Hirsch Jr., [referring to a chart showing the average Verbal SAT score falling about 40 points from 1967 – 2002], pointed out:

    “The absolute number of students who scored above 600 declined by 56 percent and the absolute number of students who scored above 650 declined by 73 percent. A sudden influx of black and Hispanic test-takers cannot explain why large numbers of college-bound middle-class white students suddenly became less proficient. That is what happened.”

    Hirsch didn’t say this but it is obvious: As America has become more diverse, far fewer whites are scoring above 600 on the Verbal SATs. Diversity, it seems, fuels non-achievement among whites.

    I surmise that much of the decline in white verbal proficiency in recent decades can be accounted for by the effect of multiculturalism on history and literature instruction, particularly, textbooks. Diane Ravitch’s THE LANGUAGE POLICE: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (2003) is a fine contribution toward understanding how public school textbooks have been rendered virtually unreadable.

  • Anonymous

    When I went into the field of public education, I was more or less a liberal with egalitarian-tinted glasses on. I thought I would be able to bring a quality education to all of my students.

    Boy, I sure as hell was in for a shock!

    This is precisely why I quit teaching after several years: All of my good students (White, Asian, Asian-Indian, some Hispanic) were held to the mercy of the underacheivers ( who were 99% of the time blacks).

    The bright students get bored with the dumbed-down curriculum and the underacheiving blacks in the classroom make it more difficult because they want to be babysat and have no ambition or motivation to learn, whatsoever.

    What ends up happening, every so often, is that the blacks will take one of their smarter classmates down to their level.

    The pandering to blacks in this nation’s public education system has all but thoroughly ruined it.

    Now, I have no qualms whatsoever about telling parents of young children to save every last penny and put their kids through Catholic school or some other private school academy if they are serious about their children’s education. Mind you, this mode of thinking would have horrified me in my liberal, pre-teaching years.

    This is why I absolutely oppose the idea of “school vouchers”. Should they come to pass, they will absolutley ruin the last (and most expensive) bastion of quality education in the U.S.

  • HH

    More typical Conservative boilerplate – tell half the story and none of the actual truth! Discussing such things without so much as mentioning intellectual-capacity/IQ and, more explicitly, race, is like attempting to discuss lung-cancer without any mention of cigarette smoke! And the obligatory Thomas Sowell name-drop is as predictable as it is boring.

    When it comes to race, modern Conservatism is every bit as blind as their cousins on the Left! And proudly so!!

  • Anonymous

    They never ask what is good for white students.

    I guess 50 years of brainwashing that it is evil for one white to ever feel kinship with another white is in full bloom.

    Whites are indocrinated to never show or feel any sympathy or responsibility to help a fellow white. That is really at the heart of it. Most whites, especially the wealthy whites, are well aware of the abuses, and loss of education when normally higher achieving whites are place in the same classes and same school as lower achieving blacks. They see the through the fraud, yet they selfishly only think of themselves and their own kids. They have been habituated to never think in terms of what is good for whites, but only think in terms of what is good for blacks.

  • olewhitelady

    Black parents of the lowest IQ students in school will probably complain about these measures because they believe that putting their 70-IQ children in gifted classes will magically raise their levels at least two standard deviations. Or they will complain that their kids are being cheated by receiving low-level instruction. Anything that is construed to be different from what whites receive is deemed to be sub-par.

  • Dave

    Different ethnic groups have vastly different attitudes, habits, and preferences with regard to many aspects of life, including education.

    That’s a good start to an honest conversation about race. But it still begs the question: why do different ethnic groups possess more or less productive attitudes, habits, and preferences? And why can’t well meaning liberals alter these attitudes, habits, and preferences–generation after generation– no matter how much time and money is devoted to altering them? I’ll bet most readers here can come up with an explanation.

  • Anonymous

    From the 2nd comment: “The “achievement gap”, is the one area in racial differences that I believe is universally understood. IMO, ALL, including those in academia, understand that blacks bring up the rear in results and always will. I don’t believe anyone really believes that you can close the “gap”, but for PC appearances, they must play the game and pretend that all are of equal intelligence and with some effort, test results will come out basically the same for all students. There is just far too much evidence out there for anyone to think otherwise.”

    When liberal teachers nowadays talk about “black learning styles” they are coming tantalizingly close to admitting racial difference. They say things like Black children have an “oral” learning style. In other words, they can’t read very well and like to chat. They’ll also talk about how important “rhythm” and “movement” are to black children, and how dancing, singing, and moving about the classroom are to be expected in a black classroom.

    Seems to me that they’re describing a kindergarten classroom of any race, rather than a uniquely black phenomenon, but apparently what is typical for white children at age 5 is typical for black children throughout childhood into early adulthood.

    At any rate, I agree that with commenter #2 that there is increasing openness to the idea of racial differences even in the hardened liberal enclave of teaching.

  • Wayne Engle

    Yes, it would have been more honest and courageous for Mr. Bennett to call a spade a spade — to point out differences in average IQ among various races, for example. But the point of the article was well taken, anyway.

    These misguided “educationists” are putting all our American students on a path to mediocrity. Some people are highly educable; some are moderately educable; some are only trainable; and some are hopeless, all the way around. And anyone who has lived in this country for the last 50-odd years and isn’t aware that these levels track pretty predictably with people’s race, is kidding themselves, or is probably in the fourth category.

  • rjp

    Berkeley Professor John Ogbu (1939-2003), who was black, concluded exactly that in his incredibly important work on black student achievement. Ogbu concluded that “black students did not generally work hard,” he wrote. “In fact, most appeared to be characterized by low-effort syndrome. The amount of time and effort they invested in academic pursuit was neither adequate nor impressive.”

    This may be true, but truely intelligent people don’t have to work hard in an educational environment that progresses too slowly for them — they are bored generally and can coast by without ever studying. Trust me, I know, I have been given the tests, and I am lazy …. no maybe not just lazy but reading things I don’t want to read at that time, I have a hard time reading. I knew I’d at least get a C on the test, probably a A if scaled, so why worry, why study.

  • Anonymous

    “Underrepresented” students are not going to improve their performance in a way that justifies the cost imposed on good students.”

    well said

  • Robert in Arabia

    A third world population means a tird world nation.

  • elitist

    Speaking as a former nutty liberal and denier of racial difference, I want to point out once again:

    the reason the taboo on discussing racial differences in intelligence so strictly enforced is because racial differences in intelligence are so INCREDIBLY obvious to everyone, including and especially black people, the vast majority of them are simply uncompetitive in any modern society.

    Most blacks (and of course many whites as well – more and more given the current dysgenic patterns) struggle daily with massive cognitive deficits, which exclude them from success and opportunity.

    Rather than face reality, it is easier for them to buy into the myth – concocted by crazy white people of course – that the only thing stopping them from coming neuroscientists or NASA engineers are the vicious prejudices of white people.

    Classes for the gifted form the future leaders of society.

    If giftedness is defined as a 130+ IQ, then virtually no blacks are eligible.

    The abolition of education for gifted students, simply because few blacks are eligible, is a good example of how the mass delusion that all races are equally endowed mentally must necessarily have a destructive and poisonous impact on every aspect of society.

    If the myth of racial equality in intelligence were simply an innocent white lie designed to spare the feelings of blacks, I would be all for it.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to uphold it without damaging all of the institutions of our society in the process.

    One major topic for future investigation once the taboo on researching racial difference has been eliminated is:

    HOW DO WHITES MODIFY THEIR BEHAVIOR IN ORDER TO FOSTER THE ILLUSION THAT BLACKS ARE JUST AS MENTALLY ABLE AS WHITES????

    Do they avoid showing off their knowledge in front of blacks? Avoid using complex language to impart complex ideas? Steer the conversation away from areas where blacks might be lost? Pander to all sorts of black myths about discrimination and exclusion? Act impressed when blacks point out the obvious (or even spout nonsense)? Exaggerate the intellectual achievements of blacks?

    Based on my own experience, standards in elite US universities have been falling like a stone for decades.

    The pretense of racially quality in intelligence has contributed significantly to this decline.

  • Anonymous

    5 — HH wrote at 6:45 PM on June 16:

    More typical Conservative boilerplate – tell half the story and none of the actual truth! Discussing such things without so much as mentioning intellectual-capacity/IQ and, more explicitly, race, is like attempting to discuss lung-cancer without any mention of cigarette smoke! And the obligatory Thomas Sowell name-drop is as predictable as it is boring.

    When it comes to race, modern Conservatism is every bit as blind as their cousins on the Left! And proudly so!!

    ————————

    I have said this about those neocons for years! Pat B knows the truth but stops shy of actually saying it. I am also weary of them dropping names like Sowell (married to a White woman, so we can call them both race traitors, right?) and Walter Williams, etc. Don’t forget Mr. “Snirdly” of the Rush show. As if that makes the black race “good” somehow and on our side. Give me a break.

  • down the bayou

    Why do “underrepresented” minorities need “representation” if, according to liberals, we are “all the same” unless the “minorities” are seeing differences and deman to race-replace White “representation”.

    This whole concept of “representation” of ethnic groups in any (and every) given setting is hardly “colorblind” or non-racist.

    “Anti”racism” is not the same as nonracism; “antiracism” is discrimination against Whites.

    To “Distinguish” between groups or individuals is now not the same as “discriminating” against” them.

  • Anonymous

    To amplify a couple of points already made: Even black people understand their own limitations. That, I believe, is the source of so much anger in the black world today. The sub-85s (half of them!) see that for a plus-85, particularly the upper third, the world is rich and bountiful with opportunity. Everybody wants to give them money and good jobs and see them succeed. But at the same time, they -85s know they can NEVER take part, they are FOREVER exiled from a cognitive life, and that festering self-hatred sooner or later turns is externalized into hatred, aggression, loss of identity in mob action, crimes of opportunity and drug addiction and other pathological manifestations. There’s no good news in this, anywhere, and it’ll never go away.

  • Anonymous

    The Rich Right think the future lies in places like China, India, Indonesia and Mexico. Where engineers with Bachelors level competencies and Master level purchased degrees are paid 10-15,000 dollars a year equivalent salaries. And 85 IQ laborers put together the resulting junk designs for $2.00 a day.

    If they honestly believed that _their money_ was at risk via removal of white social benefits from the middle class, do you think it would take these people more than a hot minute to find a reason to break with their traditional, leftist, enemy and INSIST that our privileges be maintained?

    Do think that polar-labels like ‘left and right’ are even -real- when the only truth that matters is Rich And Poor?

    The reality is that the middle class is a wealth-class maker. And the cumulatancy of this process, which is largely white, has made America top-heavy. We live longer, healthier, lives. Control our reproductive replacement and population expansion. Spend less and so have less volume turnover. Are smarter in our achievable prospects.

    All of which makes the -existing- wealth classes less money through currency volume movements of consumer economics.

    Than a nation full of dumb, high TFR, junk consumers who spend every paycheck as soon as they get it can create.

    Remember, the rich don’t think in terms of sustaining resources. Only maintaining money.

    Elevating the ‘Ethnically Underprivileged’ thus occurs solely because the wealthy KNOW, genetically, that this is not going to change or threaten their class status as a function of social bandaiding a river of blacks or hispanics into the country club.

    And the reason they know this (keeping in mind that real genetic science is at least 25 years ahead of the public’s awareness) is because everyone’s children are statistically more likely to fall towards the racial mean than their own achieved level.

    Whites, blacks, hispanics, asians. Every parent is going to produce a kid more shifted towards the racial mean. So unless you are retarded, that generally means a downwards slide. How far is where racial genetic truths start to bite particularly blacks, in the backside of the bell curve.

    If you are a 135 IQ white (

  • Anonymous

    How well you do in school depends almost entirely on your IQ. The reason there is an achievement gap is because there is an IQ gap.

    It’s not the fault of blacks that they have the lowest IQ of all humans, but that doesn’t mean that they should be fooled into believing that IQ doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. Equal opportunity for all, not forced equality for the intellectually inferior .

  • Sureesh

    I have the solution for meeting the “gifted black” quota. Dark skinned Indians are often darker than Blacks but we have high IQs and strong work ethic so let’s start classifying ourselves as “black” based on skin color in order to meet quotas. Blacks say skin color= races so let’s prove it!

  • Old White Jim

    In Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA and several other locations they have overcome the achievement gap by erasing and correcting the answers on tests and other means of falsifying student proficiency. Why can’t other predominantly Black regions get on board with this method of closing the gap so we can quit throwing funds at proven lost causes and start channeling the funds to deserving White and Asian students who inherited the ability to use their brains.

    We are all very much aware that most Blacks who make it to college don’t deserve to be there, and we fully understand that the 50% that graduate from college didn’t earn their diplomas. For that reason we should just start giving diplomas to all Blacks at birth so we can use our resources for educating the intelligent races.

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    Once I understood that blacks were generally less intelligent than whites, the few interactions I had with them became much less confusing.

    If you’re a newbie here, and you have to deal with blacks in your life, and you haven’t yet seriously considered the idea that blacks may not be as bright as whites, then try that idea on for awhile and see if your interactions with blacks don’t begin to make more sense to you.

  • Anonymous

    ahem, ah Sureesh, Asian Indians have high IQ’s? Someone correct me if am wrong, average Asian Indian iq is 81, while average iq for american blacks is 85.

    I think you’re mistaken claim of high average Asian Indian IQ’s detracts from the point I think you were trying to make. Skin color or ethnic racial differences will generally not hold back talented hardworking individuals. An example being Asian Indians (dark skin dravidians and other dalits) that migrate to the west and become successful in mere generations. While the majority of other domestic groups of “colored” people who’ve been here longer still have not been able to establish themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I teach low-achieving black high school students. They spend their time talking about tattoos, having sex, getting high, etc. There are some students with real psychological problems who were not identified in earlier grades or identified by teachers who never asked for them to be evaluated. The system hates psychological evals for students, because by federal law, “we” must provide FAPE–free and appropriate public education for everyone. If a system finds too many students who are low-IQ and dangerous, they would have to come up with schools that provided psychologists, crisis intervention counselors, special educators (not merely regular educators–different certification), etc. All of this would cost a heck of a lot more money than what we’re shelling out for the “carp” we taxpayers provide now.

    It’s easier to maintain the fiction that “all children can

    learn–but not in the same way and not on the same day” rather than provide what these students actually need.

    Gifted students? They’ll do fine in “differentiated” classes (rooms where students of mostly all levels are taught at the same time). In fact, educational gurus insist that the gifted students would just love to be teacher’s little minions and help teach the sub-normals. Horse hockey. Gifted students need to have their own unique needs met, but because they are mostly __________________ (fill in the blank), that’s not going to happen unless there is an incredibly loud and angry PTA that is willing to draw educational blood over the gifted issue. Gifted students, BTW, fall under the umbrella of “special education” but not too many educators will cop to that.

    One thing that the local school board hates is bad publicity. That’s exactly what they need–at the local level. Identify the local bad school board actors BY NAME in public. Stick it to them. And yank your precious intelligent children out of public schools.

  • A

    1.Hirsch didn’t say this but it is obvious: As America has become more diverse, far fewer whites are scoring above 600 on the Verbal SATs. Diversity, it seems, fuels non-achievement among whites.

    ——————

    I’ll bet at least part of it is because non-European and mixed-race is included in the white figure.

    2.Whites, blacks, hispanics, asians. Every parent is going to produce a kid more shifted towards the racial mean. So unless you are retarded, that generally means a downwards slide. How far is where racial genetic truths start to bite particularly blacks, in the backside of the bell curve.

    If you are a 135 IQ white (

    135+118 = 247/2 = 127-100(/2) + 100 = ca. 113 IQ for your children. Which is still nothing to be ashamed of.

    But if you are a 125 IQ black (

    125+94/2 = 110-87(/2) = 11 + 87 = ca. 98 IQ. Which is a LARGE ‘achievement gap’ intelligence drop to sustain, let alone continue to build, wealth from.

    ———————————————-

    No, it doesn’t work that way, the collective trend is toward the mean but individual variances will occur in both directions and the bell curve stays the same.

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    Black students need role models that look like them. Obama and all the nation’s teachers need to start wearing their pants down below their drawers, so black students won’t feel so alienated from the mainstream.

  • Anonymous

    Back in 2005, AmRen did an article about the “GATE Closing” plan to do away with the Gifted And Talented in Education program in the Vista, CA, public schools.

    Here is the reason: “All students should be treated equally,” Latino parents said in a letter to the board and district administrators. “We believe that the school should not create differences between students who know more and students who know less.”

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2005/05/gateclosing_pla.php

  • The Quadfather

    Aw, don’t be so hard on Mr Bennett for not mentioning black IQ. He still hit the nail on the head, and sometimes you just have to hide the medicine to get the dog to eat it. Folks are trained to cover their ears anytime they hear something that smacks of racism, regardless of whether it is the absolutely factual truth.