A 1-Hour Fix for the Racial Achievement Gap?

David L. Kirp, Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2011

{snip} Now there’s a study that appears to show that a simple one-hour exercise can halve the racial achievement gap, while also making minority students healthier and happier. {snip}

The researchers, psychologists Geoffrey L. Cohen and Gregory M. Walton, don’t claim that their intervention is a miracle cure for the problem of 17-year-old black and Latino students whose average reading and math skills are comparable to13-year-old white students. But their experiment–one of numerous scholarly studies examining the relationship between self-esteem and achievement that have reached the same conclusion–confirms an important, if often ignored, fact: Success in school doesn’t necessarily result from ceaselessly drilling students to prep them for achievement tests. “Noncognitive” factors, such as students’ sense that they fit in and are capable of doing the work, profoundly affect what they learn. Whether they believe they have the brainpower and the social skills to make it in the achievement-oriented world of school can shape how well they actually do.

Though many youngsters lack self-confidence, the research shows that minority students are especially prone to the fear of failing. As early as kindergarten, nearly a quarter of African American boys–three times more than whites–are convinced that they lack the innate ability to succeed in school. There’s ample evidence that such fearfulness, which psychologists have labeled “stereotype vulnerability,” undermines their performance. {snip}

The experiment reported in Science tested whether this life script could be changed. College freshmen read the results of what they were told was a survey of upperclassmen, together with ostensible firsthand reports of navigating college life. The stories detailed how, at first, the juniors and seniors had felt snubbed by their fellow students and intimidated by their professors, but their situation had improved as they gained self-confidence. The freshmen were asked to write essays explaining how their own experiences dovetailed with those of the upperclassmen; they then crafted short speeches that were videotaped, supposedly to be shown to the next generation of undergraduates. The exercise took about an hour. Meanwhile, a control group was reading and writing about an unrelated topic.

This simple experience didn’t affect how well white students in the study performed academically; that’s not surprising, because whites aren’t hostage to stereotypes of inferiority. But it appeared to change the arc of the minority students’ college lives. Over the next three years their grade-point averages steadily rose, compared with the GPA’s of a similar group of black undergraduates: the control group who didn’t participate in the “social belonging” exercise. At graduation, their grades were a third of a point higher than the grades of the students in the control group; that’s the difference between a B+ and A- average. Twenty-two percent of the minority participants, but only 5% of the control group, were in the top quarter of their class; only a third of them, compared with half of the control group, wound up in the bottom quarter. What’s more, they were substantially less likely to have become sick, and more likely to report being happy, during their undergraduate years than the other minority students.

{snip} The researchers suggest that “the intervention robbed adversity of its symbolic meaning for African Americans, untethering their sense of belonging from daily hardship.” {snip} [The] minority freshmen who wrote and spoke about overcoming adversity were better able to cope, apparently because they saw adversity as a transient phenomenon, not a life sentence.

In an earlier study of minority middle-school students, Walton demonstrated that an even less intense experience could work wonders. Simply writing an essay about a personally important value, like relationships with good friends, seems to have changed attitudes toward school and, consequently, how well the essay writers did in a particular course. Only 3% failed the course for which they wrote the essay, compared with 11% of the control group. {snip}

Another experiment, this one carried out by psychologists Lisa Blackwell and Kali Trzesniewski, focused on students who were predicted to do badly in middle-school math. A survey found that many of them believed their brains were fixed at birth. When they enrolled in a four-hour class about how “effortful learning” rewires the brain, they set higher goals for themselves, were more highly motivated and more likely to think that making an effort could pay off. A year later their math grades were higher than students who hadn’t learned about brain development.

{snip}

[“A Brief Social-Belonging Intervention Improves Academic and Health Outcomes of Minority Students,” by Gregory M. Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen, can be read here. There is a charge.]

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  • Istvan

    When they enrolled in a four-hour class about how “effortful learning” rewires the brain

    Good golly Miss Molly, in my day we called that “studying”.

  • Anonymous

    So, if it takes extra effort to help people of color (plus effort to blame and restrict caucasians) to equal things up (for people of color and only for people of color) that’s just fine and dandy, and more should be done. Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionists wouldn’t recognize this country.

  • Question Diversity

    A one-hour miracle to undo the results of either hundreds of thousands of years of evolution or the hand of creation itself, whichever you believe?

    You know, when we watch an infomercial claiming that this doodad can give you rock hard abs so that you can have the same pants size you did when you were 18, and along side of that you lose 50 pounds, just by using it for an hour, we justifiably laugh at those ads.

    But “hour long” cures for the racial achievement gap? That’s taken as serious educational policy.

    Now I’m here kicking myself — The only reason I’m not a brain surgeon is because I never believed I could be a brain surgeon. I’m not a rocket scientist because I never believed I could be a rocket scientist. I suppose there aren’t any real brain surgeons and rocket scientists in reality, just people who sufficiently believed they could be.

  • sbuffalonative

    The writing is almost ecstatic. This writer can’t believe they’ve finally found THE solution to THE GAP!

    As I’ve said many times, it’s just one theory to replace an old theory that should have worked by now needs a new theory to explain why the old theory failed and the new theory is better.

    They get increasingly convoluted and complicated as this one shows.

    I love how it doesn’t affect white kids because they don’t experience “stereotype vulnerability.” Maybe it doesn’t affect them because it isn’t real.

    I can’t wait for this to be implimented in every school so we can watch it crash and burn and then hear the next theory to explain why this one failed as well.

  • Question Diversity

    More follies with this study:

    As early as kindergarten, nearly a quarter of African American boys—three times more than whites—are convinced that they lack the innate ability to succeed in school. There’s ample evidence that such fearfulness, which psychologists have labeled “stereotype vulnerability,” undermines their performance.

    But isn’t the purpose of elementary, middle and high school to disabuse them of that notion, and to raise their self-esteems? I really don’t think what they’re saying is true — I think black children that young, partially because of natural consequences and partially because of the self-esteem mania shoved into their heads, way overestimate their own academic ability.

    This simple experience didn’t affect how well white students in the study performed academically; that’s not surprising, because whites aren’t hostage to stereotypes of inferiority.

    That is, if they don’t watch prime time crime dramas.

    At graduation, their grades were a third of a point higher than the grades of the students in the control group; that’s the difference between a B+ and A- average.

    They imply here that those who got this self-esteem exercise had an A- average while the ones who didn’t had a B+ average. Not true — All they’re saying here is that an example of a third of a point GPA difference could be the difference between B+ and A-. It could also be the difference between C+ and B-, or D+ and C-. However, a third of a point GPA might really not be all that impressive, in fact, it might be all a matter of being within statistical noise level, or a difference statistically insignificant if other factors can be found.

    They don’t tell us the real average GPAs of the study group and the control group. They tell us this, though:

    Twenty-two percent of the minority participants, but only 5% of the control group, were in the top quarter of their class; only a third of them, compared with half of the control group, wound up in the bottom quarter.

    So of the study group, 22% were in the top 25% of their class, while 33% were in the bottom 25% of their class. There’s still an achievement gap.

    Too, one must always remember that when it comes to grades in college, politics are always involved. And by “politics,” I mean profs inflating the grades of black students for race norming purposes. Also, they don’t tell us how easy or hard the blacks’ classes were compared to the whites. Black studies is a relatively easy major, nuclear engineering a hard one. If anything, blacks probably tended to take major courses of study that were politically easy enough for self-esteem exercises like this to do them the most well. I doubt they would have shown the same level of improvement if they had hard majors.

    Another factor we don’t know because they don’t tell us — How long did this study take place? It seems like a major longitudinal study, so I would imagine it could have taken a decade or two. Don’t forget, compared to two decades ago, grade inflation in colleges and universities is much bigger phenomenon. A B-grade earned in 2010 is not the same as a B-grade earned in 1990.

    One more thing: There are probably other numerous problems with this study from a methodological standpoint that we here at AR just reading what the LAT tells us can hack around differentially. I’m also suspicious that the study populations and/or the control groups really weren’t so randomly chosen.

  • BO_Bill

    Dear Mr. Duncan;

    Dr. Cohen’s “Social Belonging” Theory is a notable effort in the critical struggle to close the academic achievement gap but falls short of what is truly necessary to bring equality and fairness to all Americans, united in spirit and destiny by our present common geo-location. By the application of Logic to the problem of chronically underachieving black and Hispanic students, this problem can finally be put to rest, by me. Behold:

    White Americans evolved primarily in Europe, in the presence of lynxes. This is in contrast with Africans, who evolved in the presence of cheetahs; and Meso-Americans, who evolved in the presence of jaguars. All three of these animals, lynxes, cheetahs, and jaguars, belong within the common family of Felidae, commonly known as ‘cats’.

    Now, all non-disfigured cats have four legs, and one tail. Adding four plus one yields the number five. Pythagoras argued that the number five is the masculine marriage number, denoting incorruptibility because the multiple of any number ending in five yields a number that also ends in five, yielding clear benefits to collective learning. Consider also that a regulation women’s volleyball team, when the server is excluded, contains five players.

    Proceeding with our three cats and the incorruptible number five, we arrive at an uncomfortable ratio, so forget that. So instead, I propose to boil rations of three cats and distill them, eventually reducing the simmering mix a powder, and placing it in a pill. The link is to the pill I propose to produce:

    http://mrmeltdown.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/mr-meltdown-magic-pilll.jpg

    Being willing to partner (fifty-one percent) with a transsexual pigmy in the production of this pill, I am ready to send 100,000 of these pills to the United States Department of Education, at the bargain price of one-quarter of the cost of the Washington DC school system budget, or $193,250,000. If this option is not immediately available, I am willing to accept a six-figure research position working with Dr. Cohen at Stanford University.

  • olewhitelady

    Just who for the past half century has been telling blacks that they are intellectually inferior? Not the education community, not the news media, not TV shows, not movies, not political or social commentators. The only people telling blacks this is other blacks with whom they come in contact–because who else dares? Children figure out their strengths and weaknesses pretty early. Everyone in a classroom knows who is smart and who isn’t, regardless of race.

    Liberals are always scrambling for the next “fix” to the achievement gap, stalling for more time to attempt to delay the day when virtually everyone will realize that there’s no remedy. If the left admits to average black intellectual inferiority, people might begin to doubt its entire agenda.

  • Joe B

    There will be a cure for baldness before the achievement gap shrinks. Bank on it.

  • William Hendershot

    Something tells me this theory will start falling short when they attempt to actually put it into practice. That’s when research will begin on the next theory.

  • Spartan24

    Minorities having low self esteem? From what I have experianced blacks have about the highest self esteem of just about any ethnic group. If minority kids would apply themselves to the best of their ability they might do well enough in school. Grades, test scores and graduation rates have become so politicized that the school systems might as well just pass out diplomas on a student’s 18th birthday with a B average and acceptance to a college.

  • Chicagoan

    Just have the laggards chant the phrase “I AM SOMEBODY” one thousand times. That should do the trick. No need for anything fancy.

  • HH

    Seldom has more manure been spread outside the reaches of a farm-field! What absolute NONSENSE!

    It is also worth noting that this recurring theme of Black “low self esteem” is positively absurd. If anything Blacks, Black males in particular, are possessed of self-esteem in extreme excess – and certainly in quantities out of ALL proportion to their actual abilities and achievements.

  • Anonymous

    I really believe in the future when are society is sane again we will see articles like this quoted on comedy shows of that future era.

  • Old White Jim

    What a relief! I read the title of this article and immediately thought they had been lobotomizing White kids. That is the only way to actually close the achievement gap.

  • Schoolteacher

    There was once a profitable psychological cult called Lifespring. Pay a few hundred bucks, attend a weekend brainwashing, and you’re enlightened. Now, we’re promised an end to racism in a hour. I guess the gullible don’t have the patience they once had.

    To cut to the chase, how much are they planning to charge school districts for these sessions?

  • Anonymous

    Can we better spend tax dollars by getting serious about mandatory birth control on blacks and hispanics and close the borders to third world peoples and start deporting them?

  • Rajesh

    Here in California, there is a SUBSTANTIAL achievement gap between Asians and whites with Asians leading on whites to the point where Asians need an average SAT score of about 300 points higher than whites for the same slot in the university. Why won’t the liberals work on closing this gap and worrying about why whites are behind Asians?

  • Anonymous

    1-I commend and support any effort to raise the academic achievements of any students. Any technique that gets them to apply themselves more, probably will result in some improvement, at least temporarily.

    2-In the 1950’s, I went to school with blacks who attended elementary schools run by black women. These women, who lacked advanced degrees in educational science, had a real concern for their black students. So they encouraged and forced the students to rise to their potential. For example, they told a black gal in my class, “If you get a HS diploma, you can get a job in an office or factory. If not,you can be a low paid domestic. The choice is yours.”

    They stressed that jobs opportunities for blacks were there, as they had not been in the 1930’s and 1940’s. But to get them you had to be qualified.

    Times have changed!

  • WASP

    I have an MA in teaching. This is a total crock. Teachers bend over backwards to help those kids and they fail because they have low IQ, crack-head parents, watch TV seven hours a day.

  • Mike Harrigan

    A one hour fix and then all races will be equal intellectually? Boy thats a relief. Now that blacks, latinos and the rest will be getting the same grades as Whites and SOME Asians, maybe all this talk of White racism/institutuional racism and all the other forms of racism blamed on poor minority performance will be put to the death it so richly deserves.

    But what of the one in a million chance that this one hour fix doesnt work?? What then?? Do these geniuses reserve the right to affix blame of poor minority performance to Whitey again at that point?

  • Middle American Jew

    I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.

    It’s as if the “researchers” created this screwball theory to explain black failure and then reverse engineered a paper trying to explain it.

    The entire idea is obviously preposterous but, if you think about, there are no other sane explanations (excuses) left after 50 years and $100 billion. So we get this.

    By the way, the LA Times article is written in the typical leftist cheerleading format.

  • Bernie

    “Now there’s a study that appears to show that a simple one-hour exercise can halve the racial achievement gap, while also making minority students healthier and happier.”

    Ahhhh yessss, ladies and gentlemen …. this magical exercise also cures dropsy, milk leg, weak ankles, women’s complaints and the gout. Just one session is all it takes and I’m practically giving it away at $500 just because I like you fine looking people.

  • Burt

    It might be just me but I think blacks prefer to measure up to whites the old fashioned way.

    Lower the standards for them.

  • WR the elder

    This is one of those ideas that will get much publicity, be touted in the New York Times and all the other “right” places, and be seized upon by educrats with enthusiasm. Ten years from now it will be quietly forgotten when it is found that it doesn’t work after all.

  • Madison Grant

    Step right up, folks! If your black or hispanic child will spend one hour writing an essay under my direction, the racial achievement gap of the last 5,000 years will disappear!

    And I’m also selling bottles of snake oil here in the back of my wagon which will cure baldness, cancer and old age.

    BTW I also have some time-shares at bargain-basement prices…

  • Anonymous

    We must all remember that newspapers, as with all media, exist solely to sell ad space.

    They want your money, now.

    Any article printed is designed to inflame you to read more, or stroke you to read more, so the paper can convince their foolish corporate patrons to believe against all reason, that those ads do much, if anything, to boost sales.

    On top of that, big companies spend so much on ineffective ads, that were their ad budgets to be slashed, we’d pay half the cost for all such goods.

    Journalists are just whores. They are part of the marketing team of their publicarions.

    A dog’s fart has more meaning than what they print every day.

  • flyingtiger

    The more you study, the better your grades will be. I learned that decades ago. It is true now as it was then.

  • Anonymous

    yeah, give blacks MORE of a sense of entitlement- brilliant.

    and start teaching this trash in school, on our dime. this country is a joke. -and we wonder why large cities in the USA resemble a toilet ? it will get worse, amren-ers.

  • John Engelman

    Now there’s a study that appears to show that a simple one-hour exercise can halve the racial achievement gap, while also making minority students healthier and happier.

    – David L. Kirp, Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2011

    According to The 10,000 Year Explosion, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, the longer a racial group has practiced agriculture and urban living, the higher its average IQ is likely to be. This is because agriculture and urban living reward superior intelligence more than hunting and gathering.

    http://www.amren.com/ar/2009/05/index.html

    Dr. Richard Lynn seems to confirm this in his book IQ and the Wealth of Nations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

    I doubt it is possible to change the effects of 10,000 years of evolution in one hour.

  • Anonymous

    Or, they could do what they’ve done here in the UK. Replace exams with “continuous assessment” by their PC teachers and Voila! Black boys are no longer the lowest attaining group, it’s now working-class white boys. Success!

  • Scott Wilson

    How many ‘cures’ for the racial gap do we have now? Too bad none of them work outside the ‘lab’.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Quick! Somebody come up with another theory as to why blacks cannot achieve at the level of Whites! It’s the end of the school year, grants must be submitted NOW and programs must be formulated for mandated teachers’ developments that will take place in August. Let’s see….Self-esteem! Yeah, that’s it.

    Let’s hope no one remembers we already tried that one back in the 80s, it was a massive failure and didn’t budge the achievement gap….but, by the time anyone connects the futility of puffing up non-White self-esteem to close the achievement gap, after the next testing cycle or two we’ll be long gone and the money spent.

    We know no one has ever been held accountable for the massive failures of billion dollar educational programs that promise to work “this time.” If NCLB is a failure, as it clearly is, and no one is to blame… who will look at us?

    So self-esteem it is! Let’s work backwards as we usually do — entrenched achievement gap, must be tied to FEELINGS.

    Now, back to the real world:

    Here’s what the realists, the disinterested researchers have learned about false self-esteem. You can be sure THIS will not be a part of the grant proposal, or mentioned in teachers’ PDs:

    A study by Case Western Reserve University and the University of Virginia found that artificially inflated self-esteem ungrounded in real accomplishments seems to be correlated with violent tendencies. A related study shows that college students with unrealistically high opinions of themselves are often unable to tolerate criticism, sometimes becoming violent when their exaggerated self-image comes up against someone who dares to say “you are wrong.”

    –Quoted from J. Martin Rochester’s Class Warfare

    Then there’s this:

    Whites aren’t hostage to stereotypes of inferiority.

    Not that school text books teach Whites that they are inferior, the cause of world-wide misery and poverty, oppressors of peaceful noble peoples of color.

    Or that White children are forced to kow-tow and celebrate foreign holidays at school such as Cinco de Mayo, Ramadan and Armenian Day of Remembrance (my son received a day off for this particular holiday) while their own holidays and presidents are being systematically eliminated, i.e., Easter (gasp!) Vacation is now Spring Break, Christmas Vacation is now Winter Break, Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthdays are now the one-day generic President’s Day, replaced by the MLK holiday and, most recently, Cesar Chavez’s Birthday.

    As early as kindergarten, nearly a quarter of African American boys—three times more than whites—are convinced that they lack the innate ability to succeed in school.

    Seems those African American boys know more than all the fancy researchers put together as to what causes the achievement gap.

    Bon

  • Bill R

    Black students have a “fear of failure” so they fail? Bull. They work HARD to fail. They don’t want to achieve. What they fear is that white students will perform better, so they disrupt classes and hackle or assault teachers so that NOBODY can learn and achieve.

    If the only reason blacks don’t achieve is due to a “fear of failing” they please explain why blacks who DO study and achieve are singled out by blacks and given a beat down for “acting white” and making the non-studying blacks “look bad”. Eh? With blacks, it’s conform to ghetto behavior, or the highway (the highway to the grave yard). Blacks reinforce the ghetto behavior attitude, and woe betide any black who tries to break away from that behavior. Everything, and I mean everything, about the black is physical not cerebral. The perfect savage, in other words. It’s inherent.

    Genetic. AND it’s a purposeful embracing of who they are by blacks. They elevate the savage over the cultured man, because that is their natural and genetic makeup.

    When they were in their own environments – the jungles and third world – in a twisted way their savagery worked. Put them in a civilized, advanced, western culture and they are out of place. They will either resent and attack that society, or they will be completely alien within it like a fish is alien in an air breathing environment.

  • John Engelman

    How many failed efforts to bridge The Gap do we need before it becomes safe to acknowledge in public that The Bell Curve is right?

    My guess is that as evidence for The Bell Curve accumulates, efforts to suppress that evidence will grow in severity. Finally, the edifice of Political Correctness will collapse as abruptly as the Soviet Union, and it will once again be safe to say in public what has always been obvious, and what nearly everyone has privately known to be true.

  • NC

    Slightly off topic-

    I had a friend who use to work at UNC and he had access to historical school records. He looked up Michael Jordan and he got a 650 on the SAT! How do you get into college with a 650? Some blacks are dumber that we think.

  • Anonymous

    Bill #33 is right on target. Blacks are a “physical” people through and through.

  • Jack

    If they need extra help this just proves they are inferior, period.

  • Sheila

    Rajesh #17 – When you’re crowing about purported high IQ “Asians,” you need to specify that you’re talking about Han Chinese (and refer to earlier AmRen articles about the latest “Chinese-American to commit espionage/treason). If those you are referring to are Indians, please see the earlier AmRen posts about Indians trashing up the rivers and parks in NY so they’ll seem more like the River Ganges.

    “High” IQ Asian or Indian (with an alien culture) or high self-esteem black (with low intellect and high violence)- you’re an unwelcome intrusion into an historically White, Christian nation and you bring nothing here that we are in need of.

  • Zach Sowers

    A fix that doesn’t involve midnight basketball?!? Hallelujah!

  • Rajesh

    One of the key elements to proving the “Bell Curve” to be true is the success of dark skinned Indian immigrants and their offspring; within the next 10 years, our numbers will grow to the point of where people can’t just ignore us anymore. I bet there will be an experiment done where Indians go off posing as “black” while taking tests and then the researchers are surprised that these “blacks” did better than whites despite the “stereotype threat.”

  • ice

    “Now there’s a study that appears to show that a simple one-hour exercise can halve the racial achievement gap, while also making minority students healthier and happier.”

    Absolutely true. The theory is expounded on in great detail in a new book coming out which will also contain actual eye witness accounts of people who were passengers in Louis Farrakhan’s space ship during trips to the moon, where they, like Louis, were able to get out of the ship, fly around and observe outer space.

    It also relates how ancient blacks built the pyramids, which was EXTREMELY difficult since 95% of them can’t understand even algebra, and it explains how blacks were the inventers of almost everything we use today in modern America, which includes the ball point pen, box car couplers, and the helicopter, etc.

    No longer will black achievement gaps be reported. The white oppressors who have worked day and night for 8000 years to keep the world from learning of black genius are finally being overcome.

  • Mike H.

    Leave it to Amren to include an article every now and then that’s great for a good laugh.

    As my favorite comedian says, you can’t fix stupid. There’s not a class you can take, a book you can read… stupid is forever.

    Someone better let the pygmy people and australian abos in on this magic one hour class that raises one’s test scores and increases their achievements. Their below 70 average IQs could definitely use a boost! Ha! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  • Anonymous

    As another poster has noted, a third of a grade point (2.7 to 3.0) is nothing to write home about unless the baseline average is given as a measure of improvement.

    Second, it should be noted that these are college students who should be well aware that they have ‘made it’ in ways that their fellow blacks did not. Something that would have been obvious to them from at least the 2nd grade onwards and overwhelmingly so by highschool.

    But this is what I want to note-

    >>

    The experiment reported in Science tested whether this life script could be changed. College freshmen read the results of what they were told was a survey of upperclassmen, together with ostensible firsthand reports of navigating college life. The stories detailed how, at first, the juniors and seniors had felt snubbed by their fellow students and intimidated by their professors, but their situation had improved as they gained self-confidence.

    >>

    Told was a survey sounds like a _scripted story_ to me. If it’s not written by actual students about actual experiences, the ‘truth’ of those expereiences and what was done to overcome them will all be false.

    Also, if you set the bar on an adversarial start point from which ‘victory is certain!’ you create a psychosis of implicit struggle vs. adaptation and defiance vs. accomodation.

    And that works -so well- with professors who are used to having students be adult enough to listen to what they have to teach and do the work they are given rather than assume a ‘can do’ (have done) pre-existing surety of achievement.

    Get a clue people, a LOT of people _don’t_ make it through the first year of college because they were NOT cut out for it. Assuming you are and then getting yourself in way over your head on loan debts and curriculum failures is not a rational way to evaluate your ‘positive progress’.

    >>

    The freshmen were asked to write essays explaining how their own experiences dovetailed with those of the upperclassmen; they then crafted short speeches that were videotaped, supposedly to be shown to the next generation of undergraduates. The exercise took about an hour. Meanwhile, a control group was reading and writing about an unrelated topic.

    >>

    Manufacturing testimony from testimony is called heresay.

    In the younger grades, it’s even worse because standards have fallen so low that few can even manage to -write- an essay and so in the very place where you would want to arrest ‘self esteem’ issues, the problem becomes one of making psychology workable for a class that thinks as much as writes in word salad associations of random thought.

  • Anonymous

    Slightly OT, in commiseration with #35

    The first time I saw my mother cry–really cry–at the kitchen table was when, as a guidance counselor, one of her black students was offered a full ride to Cornell. He was maintaining a low-to-mid D average, with no sports involvement. She could not get much of anything for several low-income white kids who were doing B+/A- work, worked part-time outside of school, and had great attendance. This was in the early 1970s.

    I can only imagine what her frustration level would be today. My heart still hurts from remembering her sitting there…I knew that hell was just around the corner, and my hand-basket was not fireproof.