Harvard Study Says Poverty Doesn’t Explain Away Low American Math Scores

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News, August 22, 2011

America’s child poverty problem does not entirely explain away its students’ relatively low math scores, says a report from Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.


In 2009, about 32 percent of American students scored what the researchers termed “proficient” on the PISA, which placed it 32 out of 65 countries. Fifty percent or more of students in Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands scored proficient.

Previous studies have suggested that Americans out-score other countries once you control for poverty. {snip}

But the Harvard researchers, using different measures, found that poverty did not seem as big of a factor in how Americans scored on math. When the researchers just looked at students with at least one college-educated parent, a good indicator that the child is above the poverty line, only 44.4 percent were proficient in math, trailing significantly behind students in 13 countries.

Using another common metric of poverty, race, American students still lagged behind. Only 41 percent of white students scored proficient on math. (About 10 percent of white children live in poverty, much lower than the overall rate.) Meanwhile, 11 percent of black students and 15 percent of Hispanic students scored proficient on math.


{snip} The researchers argue that boosting U.S. kids’ math scores to the level of South Korea would result in a 1.3 percentage jump in GDP each year, totaling $75 trillion over 80 years.


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53 Responses to “Harvard Study Says Poverty Doesn’t Explain Away Low American Math Scores” Subscribe

  1. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Sorry Harvard, any attempt to raise math profiency would result in supreme court, department of education and department of justice rulings that teaching math has a disparate impact and is discriminatory to blacks.

    Americn business certainly does not want to raise math profiency.

    Then they would lose one of their many excuses for importing third worlders to work in math related jobs.

  2. SternOldEducator August 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    I say it’s because parents in this country have become so permissive that they allow their kids to eat junk food whenever they want, refuse to do homework, they don’t bust their rears out by the woodshed when the kids screw up, they don’t demand any respect from their children, they allow them to run wild in public places — in short, parents in general today provide NO DISCIPLINE for their kids. They grow up without structure, without definition, without ethics or morality, and are utterly incapable of doing ANYthing that requires concentration — like math. They’d rather be watching videos or playing video games – and if they don’t get the high tech toys they want, they throw screaming fits until Mommy and Daddy get it for them. Today’s parents are total failures. Kids have it FAR too easy — and they are going to be at a total loss when the stuff hits the fan geologically and economically, which it surely will in the not too distant future. My Aunt Kay, who spoiled her only son mercilessly, saw him grow up into a drug dealer. She said, “If I had it to do over again, he would HURT — and hurt early!!”

  3. Nileesh August 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    and 99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in math…

  4. NBJ August 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    America’s child poverty problem does not entirely explain away its students’ relatively low math scores, says a report from Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.

    I don’t see how poverty has anything to do with math scores. This is just my opinion, but when it comes to math I think you either get it or you don’t. I hated math in school and it was by far my worst subject and we were not poor, but we certainly were not rich either. My sister on the other hand was a wiz at math and she always had a love for numbers. My daughter and husband are the same. I’m even embarrassed to say my 11 year old son can add large numbers in his head that I require pen and paper for. His teachers have even told me they are delighted with how fast he catches on when something new is introduced in math. They get it and I just don’t. Some people just have a gift for math…..

  5. neanderthalDNA August 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm #


    Largely as a result of having to pound circles of reality into squares of PC ideology, scholastic standards have been dropping for DECADES, especially in those areas which lend themselves most readily to butt covering book cooking – non hard sciences and math.

    It’s one thing to churn out lots of diversity encouraging basket wdeaving degrees, (shamefully) debased social science and humanities titles, but…

    Potentially directly disastrous to cook those math/science/medical degrees. Bridges start collapsing, folks croaking on the operating table…

    Which may explain why it has proven so difficult in this country to gloss over the degradation of ejucayshun in these fields of study.

    Of course pathetic inflation of non hard sciences has a long term devastating effect as well – just harder to judge the results until its too late.

  6. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    That’s because our learning institutions are filled with Marxists who teach Martin Luther King Jr. 24/7 and 1+1=2 as an after thought!

    Don’t laugh… my son, now a senior in high school, told me that last year a black girl in one of his classes thought the moon was flat! Do you blame the girl (no), the parents (yes x 2), the school (yes x 50), or the government (yes infinitely)! And to think Americans still “believe” we’re #1!!!

  7. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    And why is this? Lets blame the schools! Perhaps bring over foreign teachers, they know what to do. How did the US education slip over time?

    It takes a Harvard study to tell us what most Americans already know. Any thought given to IQ tests as an indicator of performance?

  8. Question Diversity August 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    The researchers argue that boosting U.S. kids’ math scores to the level of South Korea would result in a 1.3 percentage jump in GDP each year, totaling $75 trillion over 80 years.

    Not possible, because you either grok math or you don’t. The only way to make American scores increase is to dumb down the test, but then the Korean test scores would increase, too. BTW, I fail to understand how the marginal difference between American and Korean GDP means that we gain almost a terabuck a year GDP on average for the next 80 years.

  9. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Illiterate masses are easy to control…I think that desegregation is at fault.

  10. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    “BTW, I fail to understand how the marginal difference between American and Korean GDP means that we gain almost a terabuck a year GDP on average for the next 80 years.”–Question Diversity #7

    What is a “terabuck”? Can marginal “terabuck GDP” comparative results simply be a result of vastly superior per capita natural resources?

  11. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    The report is easy to scan and worth the time.


    There are charts showing the now unsurprising ethnic differences. Nevertheless the differences are startling. Either we adopt foreign teaching practices, accept that students come with different IQs or both. We are doing no one favors proceeding the way we are now. We set expectations too high for some, and drag down others to the lowest-common-denominator. Our problems are ideological, we need different assumptions. The PC crowd wouldn’t like those assumptions, but facing the facts will optimize what is best for all.

  12. Boondoggler August 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I was poor. I scored in the 90th percentile in math, English, reading, and I could write sentences that made sense. Not only that, I could spell words that I read, such as ‘said’, ‘they’ and other even longer words, like ‘false’ spelled much of the time as ‘flase’. Poverty has very little to do with test scores. Interest and parental expectations have the most impact. If a parent not only expects the family student to do well, but sets the example for the student by reading, and making sure the student views mom and pop as interested in excellence, the student will do well, unless there is some learning disability. Poverty is not a learning disability. There are libraries in this country where interested people can read for free. Most mathematics teachers will give extra time to students who care. Parents who care raise children who care and make teaching worthwhile. Poverty means nothing as far as learning is concerned.

  13. Spartan24 August 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    I dont know why the constant push for increased math scores. Most jobs will never require anything much higher than basic operations to begin with. You either get higher math or you don’t- kids that don’t get it don’t need to waste their time taking it. My late grandfather was a math genius who never took any advanced math. He could memorize long strands of numbers with little effort. I inherited this gift but not the innate math ability.

  14. zone August 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Have seen criticism stated in my own town regarding difficulty of math tests given high school students. This is in context to the “no child left behind” philosophy. Made me realize how busy we are trying to reach the lowest achievers while top achievers are largely ignored and rarely tested to their full abilities.

  15. Middle American Jew August 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    I don’t believe math is an either you-get-it-or-don’t situation. As one advances in math the learning curve gets a bit steeper for some. But I’m fairly certain most all white students, if taking the time and effort (admittedly a variable) can conquer the subject and perhaps enjoy it. I understand it is perhaps not that interesting to those interested in literature or history but a rounded education is certainly helpful in all fields.

    On the other hand, this study simply shows that blacks-don’t-get-it. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort is involved, mentally, it’s not there. The genetic failure and average low IQ prevents most blacks from anything but basic arithmetic. The study is a glaring example. How can 89% of a group be deficient in something? No cultural variable allows for that.

    So aside from the billions already wasted trying to teach Shaniqua trig, we’re out another $75 trillion through 2091.

    The answer is to simply segregate the schools and then group classes according to intellect and academic performance. Can you imagine today’s educational system – run by moron black “educators” – in the 1920s and 1930s. We would have lost WWII.

    “What be an atom?”

  16. olewhitelady August 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    For years, I’ve wondered if some of these high-math-proficiency countries are not testing all of their students to obtain these results. A good number don’t provide universal education, and many nations shuttle all but the best students off to trade schools. In the U.S., plenty of pupils who can’t even read or do simple sums graduate from high school. Does this happen in Europe or Asia?

    It’s certainly true that American schools have been dumbed down in order to be inclusive of non-whites. I also believe that teachers are coerced into giving higher grades because of parental pressure and the whole modern mileu of attempting to make every individual feel worthy and special.

    Are students required anymore to learn the multiplication tables or even to add and subtract without a calculator? I’ve heard that many schools now don’t even teach cursive writing.

    How else could we be so different from Canada?

  17. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Does anyone know if they’re still teaching that new math stuff? I had to take a remedial math course when I started college in NYC. I didn’t start college until my thirties and had never taken trigonometry becuase my high school had only required 3 years of math, Algebra I and II and geometry.

    Anyway, I sat through this course that was all about sets and circles and God knows what. I failed it. I transferred to another college in the CUNY system and the course was normal, like what I remembered from high school. I got an A in algebra and in trig and went on to take calculus I and II and got an A in calculus I and a B in calculus II. Not bad for someone who failed “new math.”

  18. Blaak Obongo August 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    NBJ wrote:

    “I don’t see how poverty has anything to do with math scores. This is just my opinion, but when it comes to math I think you either get it or you don’t.”

    NBJ, I believe you are right. When I was in high school, I was a National Merit Scholarship finalist, my SAT scores were the second-highest in the school’s history and (as I discovered years later), my teachers considered me “most likely to succeed.”

    And yet I always struggled mightily with math, and only managed passing grades in that subject with great effort.

    I’d say it works out to something like this: stupid people can’t do math (or much of anything else), but an inability to excel at math is not necessarily an indicator of stupidity. There seems to be a genetic component to mathematical skills that can be independent of raw intelligence.

    The unspoken presumption that mathematical ability is the functional equivalent of an IQ test (I did outstandingly well on those, too) seems to me therefore invalid.

    Oh, and by the way–in spite of my early poor showing in mathematics, I eventually became (until I retired) a university instructor. Now I’m a writer. All without ever distinguishing myself in math.

    None of this, of course, invalidates the obvious racial component to general intelligence. I’m just very suspicious of using mathematical ability as the sole metric.

  19. Len August 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    It cannot , it has been known for some time that there is a genetic component to math abilty , which cannot be overcome by potty training or pats on the back.

  20. XIXth August 24, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    The fact is the research actually infers what has been confirmed by better academics than those who study at Harvard such as Steve Sailer of Vdare.com: Immigration has not only meant importing poverty and illiteracy, it has also meant dumbing down of white children’s education and the transfer of wealth from both black and white households upwards. Add to that the effects of desegregation, affirmative action, and the Civil Rights Movement has had on white American’s wealth and what we have is one giant sabotage of the American commonwealth.

    This is especially true and readily available in educational statistics. Its not bad schools but BAD STUDENTS! Factoring in race and nationality of foreign origin provides the main decision for what ails America’s intellectual scores and economic malaise.

    For instance, Texas children lag far behind children in Wisconsin. Factor in race, Texas white children do better than Wisconsin white children! What ails Texan student scores is the huge number of illiterate Hispanic children. Factor in studies of black integration with white schools which show diverse schools actually might degrade white children’s scores means, and Texas cracker white kids are kicking the ass out of those Yankee milque toast white-bread kids up North, even with being saddled by diversity.

    Now consider that groups ranging from the US Academy of Sciences, to the Pew Hispanic Center to Vdare and other conservative groups all agree immigration has resulted in upwards of 1 trillion dollars of additional domestic FEDERAL spending and the transfer of some 2 trillion dollars of wealth from the middle and lower class to the top 1% and we see what an UTTER disaster immigration has been.

    In sum, if we agree that white kids would perform better by upwards of 25% on scores as a result of not being forced to integrate with non-whites in creating diverse schools, and no immigration would mean the transfer wealth back downwards, then a total of some 4.2 trillion dollars would accrue to 60 million or so middle and lower class households both black and white. Or in other words, just add at least another $70,000 dollars or more to your household income. That along with your lands, your homes, your peace, your tranquility, etc is what has been taken from you by the Treason Lobby and the malefectors we call our Leadership. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

  21. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    Nileesh wrote ’99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in maths…’

    According to the report 50 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in maths.

    The article stated that American students live in the richest country in the world. NO. Luxembourg is almost twice as rich as its per capita nominal GDP is the highest in the world. Yet the percentage of students who are proficient in maths are similar to the USA.

    Norway and Sweden too are richer than the USA (and were in 2009).

    The percentage of student proficient in maths in these two countries are the same as the United States.

    Iowa students are at the same proficiency-rate in maths as the USA. This state has one of the lowest percentage of minorities.

    Only 21 states have an higher poverty rate than Iowa.

    Kentucy average in maths is below the U.S. average. It is ranked

    39 in poverty rate.

    The Afro-American rate of 11 percent is higher than Albania and

    Romania . For example , only about 4 percent of Albanian students are proficient in maths.

    In conclusion , poverty rate affects math scores but there are

    other factors involved given that richer counties such as Norway, Sweden and Luxembourg are at the same rate as the United States. And Turkey ranking from 2003

    rose from 35th place in science and maths to 22 of the 40 countries tested in 2003. So there are steps a country can take

    to improve its score other than spending money.

    There need to stronger math curriculum in United States and students must learn from an early age that math is useful and not irrelevant. Of course, too many learn that they can have good

    careers without doing well in maths.

  22. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    3 — Nileesh wrote at 6:55 PM on August 23:

    “and 99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in math…”

    But can’t write a proper sentence in English.

    That’s false in any case. Asians wouldn’t get so many spots if it weren’t for AA and Protected Groups. There’s an entire family of dumb Asians living across from me.

    Nileesh, you aren’t making you and Asians any more welcomed with your arrogance.

  23. HH August 24, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Among other issues here, this whole “poverty” business is a cannard of epic proportions! Virtually no one in America lives in genuine poverty, unless perhaps they choose to! The myriad “social-programs” of every conceivable shape and size, or perhaps better to say the vast welfare-state itself, essentially gurantees that no American need live in poverty. Indeed, for the most part, those who the “powers-that-be” claim to be impoversihed live in vastly more fiscally healthy circumstances than many an average American half a century ago.

    The slums of the third-world, for instance, are indicative of genuine poverty. Overweight “Urban” American children in designer clothes, carrying cell-phones, and sitting around watching their cable/digitial/satellite TV all day, are hardly living in poverty!!

  24. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    “Fifty percent or more of students in Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands scored proficient.”

    This isn’t surprising considering how racially homogenous these countries are compared to the U.S.

    White kids in this country are scoring lower than their European cousins for the simple reason that our racially diverse educational system has to pander to the lower abilities of the other races.

  25. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    #22 wrote ‘But can’t write a proper sentence in English.”

    This is not true. According to a report Chinese and Indian students residing in the United Kingdom elipsed all other racial or ethnic groups in English test by the age of 11 .

    And by the way Nileesh is not correct when he wrote that 99 percent of Asian Students are proficient in mathematics. The correct figure is 50 percent which is the lower than Finland Liechtenstein, and Switzerland and is the same rate as Canada and the Netherland .

    So non-Asian countries(European) perform just as well as Asian Americans and even better in some cases.

    #22 also wrote ‘ Asians wouldn’t get so many spots weren’t it for AA…’

    This too is false. According to a study Asian Americans on average need to obtain an higher SAT score than all other racial or ethnic groups in the United States inorder to get accepted in a top U.S. college. Asian American students need an extra 140 point on the their SAT to compete with whites for the

    same spot.

    #22 also wrote’ There’s an entire family of dumb Asian living across from me’. Only one ? You could find more than ONE entire family of dumb people of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S.A or any country in the world. And who says that all Asians are all brilliant?

  26. Alexandra August 24, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    My family was low-income (my sister and I got reduced-price lunches), yet in a junior high math competition in the mid-80s, I was in first place for the eighth grade.

  27. NBJ August 24, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    To poster 18…

    I totally agree. I never had issues with any other subject in school and was always an A-B student except in math. I remember starting to really struggle around 8th grade, and the next 4 years were a nightmare with endless tutors and after school help. I had a teacher tell me once (before they became so PC) that I was just being lazy. That wasn’t true in my case. Things had to be explained to me over and over and I simply could not retain that information. Again, I didn’t have those issues when, for example, having to recall historical facts.

    To poster 13

    I also agree with your post. I was the store accountant for a major retail store for several years despite my dismal academic record in math. I was responsible for keeping track of as much as a million dollars a week, and all I needed was a calculator and the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. There are countless occupations that don’t require much more than that, so I say leave the higher learning in math for those people, or groups of people who have the talent for it.

  28. Incognito August 24, 2011 at 11:32 am #


    and 99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in math…

    According to Professor Lynn in Wealth of Nations the average IQ of India is 81. That’s as low as black populations.

    That explains why India is a Third World country where people defecate openly and throw their dead into the same river in which they bathe their children and brush their teeth.

  29. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Speaking of math tests here is what the algebra section of the California state teachers credentialing was like when I took it.

    I posted this before I’ll post it again.

    Algebra problems were on this level.

    If 2 + X = 4 what is X?

    If 3 + X = 6 what is X?

    There were no minus questions as that would confuse the below 90 IQ of hispanic and black test takers.

    The fraction and percentage questions were all 1/2 1/4 and 25 and 50 percent the easiest possible

    The federal dept of education and many state teacher’s associations want to eliminate the teacher’s tests altogether because of the disparate impact on blacks.

    I am sure the Judiciary will agree with them when the lawsuits are filed.

  30. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    3 — Nileesh wrote at 6:55 PM on August 23:

    “and 99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in math…”

    A common misconception is that all Asians have an average IQ of 105. Not true at all, according to Wikepedia based on a book

    “Average IQ and the wealth of nations here are the average IQs of the Asian Nations:

    China 105

    Japan 105

    Korea 105

    Vietnam 95

    Thailand 95

    Cambodia 95

    Laos 90

    Mymar 90

    Hmong 82

    There are 3 kinds of Asians in America.

    The highly intelligent who were selected by their goverments at an early age, taught English from age 5 on, sent to special schools and sent to America to take over engineering, medicine, computers, IT and research. Most are Chinese.

    The middle class who immigrate on an individual basis.

    All Chinese need to do is undergo a Christian baptism and get a religious prosecution visa. The rest come in on tourist visas and stay for the rest of their lives.

    They start crooked little businesses such as the convenience stores that are responsible for billions of dollars a year in food stamp fraud. Usury, extortion, prostitution that is essentially sex slavery, illegal gambling, the usury that goes with gambling and kidnap threats among their own community are other occupations. For decades the Chinese owned Shaw hotel in San Francisco was where most of the illegal drugs from Asia were stored and packaged. That is hundreds of thousands of pounds of opium that was converted to heroin along with marijuana and cocaine. The cocaine came from the Chinese community in S. American countries.(This info from a 30 year San Francisco police officer and the District Attorney’s investigators.)

    The slaves who work for the middle class crooked businesses.

    Ever been to one of those huge inexpensive all yu can eat Chinese buffet restaurants? The people who work in them are all slaves who sleep in the restaruant at night, keep their few clothes in the food storage rooms and bathe and do laundry in the sinks. The numerous Asian garment factories are just as bad, virtually all the employees are slaves smuggled in often in shipping containers. They live and sleep in the factories. They are locked in in total violation of fire and safety codes. then there are the slave girls who work in the prostitution industry.

    I am White American. I come from the most ordinary lower middle class family. There were 5 children. Our IQS were tested in second grade. Here are the IQs of this very ordinary low income

    White American family. 133, 130, 128, 118, 109.

    Our European ancestors were English, Irish and French if that has anything to do with anything.

  31. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    24 — Anonymous wrote at 8:09 AM on August 24:

    “Fifty percent or more of students in Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands scored proficient.”

    This isn’t surprising considering how racially homogenous these countries are compared to the U.S.

    White kids in this country are scoring lower than their European cousins for the simple reason that our racially diverse educational system has to pander to the lower abilities of the other races.”

    Your last sentence nails it. I taught for 40+ years and I saw the steady decline as a result of the dumbing down of our system. Bussing and forced integration was the death knell. I saw the period where they’d put special ed kids in mainstream classes and I watched the high performing kids stifle.

    A teacher’s dream became motivated White and Asian kids.

  32. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Several white, young women, that worked with me at an Army recreation facility, where not able to make change from say $3.50 to $10. The cash register frequently would not show how much change to return, and they were at a loss.

  33. Question Diversity August 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    10: terabuck = a trillion dollars. Geekspeak. Our GDP is $14.12 trillion estimated now per year, yet they tell us that marginally raising our math scores will by itself increase our GDP $0.9375 trillion per year ($75 trillion divided by 80 years) for the next 80 years. Rubbish.

    16 oldwhitelady: Not only do I think those Asian countries test their brighter students to increase their averages, we don’t test some of our home schoolers, because they’re being home schooled, and that would raise our average.

  34. Question Diversity August 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    27 NBJ:

    Most people get “accountant” and “Certified Public Accountant” (or “Chartered Accountant” — British English) mixed up. Most accountants are not CPAs. The thing about CPAs, though, is that they can legally sign off on audits. And to earn that privilege, they have to master a lot of math, including probability and statistics (calculating odds of this or probability of that is crucial while doing an audit to find perfidy or actual treachery), and some rather complex calculus, with a differential equation or two thrown in for good measure. However, most CPAs and all non-CPA accountants rarely use anything more complicated than simple algebra in their day to day drudge work.

  35. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    #32 wrote ‘Several white, young women, that worked with me at an Army recreation facility, where not able to make change from say $3.50 to $10..’

    What is the point? YOUNG WHITE WOMEN cant make change in general? Or several YOUNG WHITE WOMEN that worked with you at the Army facility cant make change? But young Asian, Hispanic, Black and Native American Women can in general?

    Or is it , YOUNG WHITE WOMAN in general , also cant make change just like other races of YOUNG woman? So YOUNG WHITE WOMEN are

    dumb too just like other YOUNG WOMEN who are NOT WHITE?

  36. the Guru August 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    This has been a very interesting thread.

    For those you interested in hard statistics- who is the richest etc, try nationmaster.com and have fun.

    Harvard doing a simple correlation study is surprising almost as bad as the guy with the poor Asian neighbour.

    The variations among people’s abilities abound. This PC has warped thoughts especially among politicians and foisted upon the populace in general among educators in particular. Would you rather have English police, French chefs, German Engineers etc…. or English chefs, Italian police etc… most have heard that one. We all are more capable in some area learning even if it is sports better than others. If we were left alone without political meddling, the best in each would have risen to the top within their own areas. No child left behind was one of the stupidest ideas in education, try the same in sports the same black educators would be dead set against it. We are one of the few countries in the world where generalised education goes on into the undergrad years, why even in graduate schools they have foreign language requirements which takes away time from your major. In many countries children branch out after middle school. In support of other comments, math is an inborn ability like so many other things like singing, throwing money does not change such learning. Our politicians need to get out our way, they are driving away our good teachers.

  37. NBJ August 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    To poster 34

    You are correct. I remember once we were hiring an assistant for me when I was store accountant, to take over on my 2 days off. There was a young man who was majoring in accounting and wanted to becaome a CPA. He thought he could get some experience by working in the accounting office, and I had to explain to him that what I did was very different than what he had in mind, and in fact had nothing to do with being a CPA and he would probably be bored with it.

    Mostly my job was counting money, keeping track of large amounts of it, making sure our cashiers were not robbing us blind, and a lot of record keeping. He decided in the end that he would indeed be bored with it, and would not really benifit from the job.

  38. margaret August 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    #32 wrote ‘Several white, young women, that worked with me at an Army recreation facility, where not able to make change from say $3.50 to $10..’”

    I don’t believe you. Every cash register in use today subtracts the money paid from the total cost and shows the correct amount of change. Look at the cash register screen next time you buy something.

    The cash register does all the work and the results are on the screen for the cashier to read. Cost $12.95 9 percent sales tax

    $1.16 total cost $14.11 Paid $15.00 89 cents change.

    Look at the cash register screen and computer printed receipt next time you buy anything. The machine does all the math.

    You are probably one of those black male soldiers who spent his entire tour harassing and forcing yourself on White women; or a black female soldier who hates White woman because you are a domineering bully.

  39. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    @ Nileesh

    Despite your wishful thinking, the real number is 50%

    Fifty percent of Asian-American students, 42 percent of whites, 15 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of blacks test as proficient in math.


  40. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    “and 99 percent of Asian Americans are proficient in math…”

    Immingrant and 1st generation Asians often study harder than whites. Asians often have a strong work ethic. I repsect that, but I do not believe Asians are typically more intelligent than whites. Immigrant Asians are escaping poverty stricken, dangerous, third world countries. They had to work extra hard to escape this, save money, and immigrate legally (another rare, impressive quality). 2nd and 3rd generation Asians are more complacent like whites. I have only good things to say about Asians, but how can they be more intelligent than us? Almost all modern technology was invented in the European World (U.S., UK, Germany, Russia). Most Asian countries, with the exception of Japan, Taiawn and Singapore, are third world countries. PRC China is a third world country, by the way.

    My first roommate, freshman year in college, was Chinese. He was also a friend of mine. I was pleased that he was my roommate. I knew he would be a genius in mathematics anc could help me with calclulus. I asked him for assistance, he replied, “how the hell should I know?”. I ended up with a higher grade and degree than him in the end. I’m quite average myself.

    Asians are most often my friends. I admire their work ethic. They are not some super human race that dominates whites. I would say they are more or less equal in intelligence.

  41. Shot Doctor August 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Doing math is truly a mind set. One must focus, however I believe

    that concepts you don’t get at 18 years…doesn’t mean you can’t

    get at 21 years…try try again.

    We need to segregate schools by race and sex if we want to begin

    the way back

  42. Yellow Man August 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    I think you people are missing the boat here. The real issue is that the United States’ PISA scores are woefully deficient. What this means is that society as a whole may not be able to produce enough educated workers to support a modern technological society. There are already signs that businesses in the United States are having problems finding enough skilled workers:


    Part of the problem in the United States is that we have an educational system that produces large numbers of people with degrees but not enough individuals with actual skills.

    Here is an interesting program on the topic:


    Note that a number of employers called in and actually noted how positions are going unfilled due to the inability to find qualified workers. There is an academic on the program as well who becomes highly defensive when employers suggest that our educational system is not producing workers with the right skills sets.

    Education here is the key if we don’t have an educational system that produces workers not only with basic literacy but the right skill sets as well then it will be impossible to sustain an advanced technological society.

  43. Rhialto August 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    {snip} The researchers argue that boosting U.S. kids’ math scores to the level of South Korea would result in a 1.3 percentage jump in GDP each year, totaling $75 trillion over 80 years.

    These Harvard liberals are stating that by making African and Hispanic Minorities’ math test scores equal to the Korean test scores, the productivity of African and Hispanic Minorities will equal the Koreans. Do these liberals really believe it, or do they want others to believe it?

    Do social scientist/activists know the difference between cause and correlation? Perhaps boosting the mathematics capability of those who will use it would help the GDP, but how will it add to the productivity of those who will never use even simple arithmetic? South Koreans are mainly law abiding and productive people, they would be so even with less mathematic instruction.

  44. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    We spend a lot of time, energy and resources on the lower end of the performance spectrum but with minimal effect. However society progresses from the top. Are we providing similar time, energy and resources on those people?

  45. Bon, From the Land of Babble August 25, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    Interesting thread in light of the fact that I received my son’s California state test scores today.

    When state testing came up last spring, I offered to sign him out of the tests, as is my right as a parent. His school NEVER honors White students but showers unearned accolades on undeserving NAMs, yet the school doesn’t hesitate to take 100% credit for the high test scores the White and Asian students bring in.

    The principal and administrators brag CONSTANTLY about the school’s test scores!! Post them in bright lights on the school’s marquee, feature them on the school’s web page, open every parents’ meeting with a recital of the latest test scores. Even the local Real Estate Agents sing the praises of the high school’s test scores. Yet when it comes to WHO brings in those high CST and AP scores…..silence. Nothing. NO acknowledgement whatsoever!

    And, it’s not as if the principal’s JOB doesn’t depend on the test scores that the White and Asian kids bring home for him. What does he do for them in return? Nothing. It infuriates me. Always has.

    The California state tests were being given at the same time as the APs and normally the 17-year old, as the renegade he is, would jump at any opportunity afforded him to get back at a school and system that he knows is inherently unfair to him because he is White and a Male. But he wanted to take the state tests for whatever reason.

    The Physics CST was the same day as the Physics AP. The two tests, he said, were profoundly different — he did the entire CST physics test in his head, told me most of it didn’t even involve physics but rather was mostly about simple math. For example: If a train is traveling 60 mph for 30 minutes, how far did it go? The AP Physics test, however, was authentic, covered real physics and was VERY hard. (score: 5).

    Scoring for state tests is thus: Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below Basic, Far Below Basic

    Physics: Advanced. Most categories 95-100%

    Cumulative Math (highest math test given), Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II: Advanced. 95-100% most categories.

    English: Advanced

    US History: Advanced, highest score possible.

    What do you think would happen if he were black or hispanic? Front page of the papers? His photo and scores prominently displayed in the glass case in the front entrance of the school? Colleges and universities falling all over themselves with offers of full scholarships? Recognition and photo ops by the local, if not state superintendent? Appearances on the local news channels?

    Recognition, Honor or Acknowledgement for White Achievement at school? In the local media? By the school district? HA!! Only at home.


  46. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    #28 wrote ‘… in Wealth of Nations the average IQ of India is 81..

    Lynn is wrong. Indians in the diaspora in countries such as USA, UK , Canada, ,etc, outperformed whites in school performance and income. Indians have the highest income in the U.S.A

    Even recenty in Steve Sailer’s iSteve Blog:Indian

    IQ again, the guess was that India’s IQ is 94. The misconception is that Indians in the diaspora are selected from the top 1 percent of 5 percent. The reality is that it is not true in all cases. For example, 96 was given for the IQ of Indians in Malaysia and Steve wrote ‘For a diaspora of plantation workers 96 is quite impressive’.

    #29 wrote ‘There were no minus questions as that would confuse the below IQ of the black and hispanic test takers.’

    So black and Hispanic teachers in California have IQ below 90?

    So even college graduates in a state such as California have IQ below 90?

    But even students in countries which are said to have an IQ below 90 did correctly more difficult problems than 2-X=4 (note that you said they wouldnot be able to if the probem had a negative sign).

    Yet, for you, college graduates who are black or Hispanic and are taking the California teaching exam are not able to. Nonsense. And their IQ is not below 90.

  47. Black Swan August 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Lynn is wrong. Indians in the diaspora in countries such as USA, UK , Canada, ,etc, outperformed whites in school performance and income. Indians have the highest income in the U.S.A

    96 IQ is still in the double digit category, lower than estimated white IQ of 100 — lowered due to the fact that we whites are lumped in with those from N.Africa and the Middle East. Those with IQs of 96 have limited intelligence and limited achievement. There is NO reason to import them into white homelands to displace the white population.

    What you wrote does not ameliorate the fact that East Indians and Asians DO NOT belong here in the United States.

    Explain to me why you and other nonwhites demand to live in societies we whites created for ourselves, not for you?

    Do you think all of this appeared by magic? That whites happened upon it and claimed it for themselves?

    Why can’t your people create what we have created? Why can’t you stay in your own country? I don’t demand to live in yours!

    You do not belong here. Go back to where you came from help your own people, clean up the mess you created in your homeland.

  48. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I was a really poor kid. Barefooted, cold, and raised on potatoes. English is my second language. (I know when to use “I” and when to use “me”. Funny that when people try to write very proper they use “I” where it should be “me”) .

    I am much in favor of small country schools with a minimum of three classes and 40 students to a room. There was lots of studying and learning going on. But then, we had no TV and were naturally curious. I did not know a kid that did not get a book for Christmas, and who was not a reader. (I let you read my Christmas book and you let me read yours). So actually, poverty helped to educate us. Now thinking back, we never were assigned to read a book and give a report. But I remember the teacher asking about our favorite books and letting us talk about it. Those were fun times.

  49. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Hey there #46 who wrote “#28 wrote ‘… in Wealth of Nations the average IQ of India is 81..

    Lynn is wrong. Indians in the diaspora in countries such as USA, UK , Canada, ,etc, outperformed whites in school performance and income. Indians have the highest income in the U.S.A”

    Look it up on Wikipedia. The average IQ of Indians is 81. That is average IQ of Indians living in India, not America. Just because some Indians have IQs of 110 and up has no bearing on the average 81 IQ of Indians. If you knew anything about statistics and math you would know this.

    I remember being taught how to average in 3rd or 4th grade.

    If the average American household income is $50,000 per year it is below stupid to say that because Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s incomes are millions a year all American households have incomes of millions a year.

    Look it up. Wikipedia, the United Nations, the government of India all report that the average Indian IQ is 81. The Indian diaspora in America is from the top 5 percent in intelligence.

    My IQ is 128. Does that mean that the average IQ of White native born American women is 128? No.

    How stupid are you? You live in America and are classified as White. Therefore your IQ is averaged in with White American IQ, not Indian IQ.

    For such a genius Indian you don’t even understand the concept of averaging taught in 4th grade. You also fail to realize that the high IQs of expat Indians are not counted in the averaging of Indian IQs in the country of India but in the average IQs of the nation in which they live.

    Remember the cholera outbreak in Peru a few years ago? Luckily the Peruvian health service caught it before it became an epidemic. The cholera was caused by solid human waste dumped into the Bay of Bengal (west coast of India) by the city of Chennai. The solid human waste formed an island so huge that even the Pacific ocean could not dissolve and dilute it.

    That island of untreated solid human waste floated through the Bay of Bengal, the straights of Malacca and out into the Pacific and finally landed on the coast of Peru thousands of miles away from the open sewer that is Chennai.

    The most primitive African bush tribes and Pygmies whose average IQs are in the sixties deal with solid human waste better than does the enormous rich country of India that has been civilized for 5,000 years. The bush Africans bury it as soon as it is expelled.

    Do Indians realize how appalled diplomats, tourists, business people, sailors and airline people from other countries are when they look at the filth piled all over India?

    The world is insane. Every MD and RN from the third world immigrates to America as soon as they get their degrees. Meanwhile America supports enormous medical missionary efforts and sends American RNs and MDs to third world countries because all the native medics are in America.

    Another country fact. India has not built a new sewer since the mid 1940’s when the British were in charge. The population has vastly increased since them.

  50. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    “#29 wrote ‘There were no minus questions as that would confuse the below IQ of the black and hispanic test takers.’

    So black and Hispanic teachers in California have IQ below 90?

    So even college graduates in a state such as California have IQ below 90?”

    That was the algebra component of the California teachers exam when I took it. One needs a BA to be a teacher, preferably an MA. I don’t know the lowest IQ necessary to learn algebra 1. My Mother who is a math teacher once told me that anyone with an IQ below 105 would need a tutor and lots of hard work to get through algebra 1 and should not attempt algebra 2 or trig.

    I do know that the so called algebra on the California teacher’s exam is unbelievably easy. What is worse was the way the elementary school math fractions and percentages were also as simple as possible.

    Blacks get into college on affirmative action, grad school on affirmative action and teacher’s and $150,000 administrator’s jobs on affirmative action.

  51. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    #47 Black Swan wrote ‘ lowered due to the fact that we whites are lumped with those from N. Africa and the Middle East’

    The only European countries with an IQ over 100, according to the same source are Italy, Iceland, and Switzerland with IQ scores not significantly different from 100.

    Are you claiming that all too are lumped with those from N. Africa and Middle East.

    >47 ‘Those with 96 have limited Intelligence.’

    Russia 97

    Ireland 92

    Slovaki 96

    Croatia 90

    Ukraine 97

    Are you arguing that the citizens of the above four countries have limited intelligece?

    >47 ‘You do not belong here ‘.’Go back to where you come from..’

    You are assuming that I am Asian. And even if I am , If everyone

    had complied with those who said ‘Go back to where you come from’, then there probably wouldn’t be World Wars and many other wars and the Europeans would be in Europe including whites who were not welcome in America by other whites, the Africans in Africa, and the Native Americans would be the only in America , if only the Europeans had listened to the Native Americans when they said ‘Go back to where you come from’. The good thing is that no one in America (lawfully) including whites will follow that advice.

  52. Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    #49 wrote ‘Look it up in Wikipedia..’

    I know that India IQ is listed as 81.But Lynn is wrong based on the academic performance of the average Indians in the diaspora which is similar to the Chinese and higher than Whites. What is the chance that it is the bright Indians who immigrate but it is not the bright Chinese. And also given that a diaspora of Indian plantation workers(average Indians) IQ was estimated to be 96. Also Indian immigrants from place such Trinidad, and Guyana perform well academically in the United States. These people are your average Indians from these two countries.

    You are not interesting in the fact on this else you would not have ignored the conclusion on Indian IQ by Steve Sailer .

    #50 wrote ‘My Mother ….. told me that anyone with an IQ below

    105 would need a tutor and lots of hard work to get through algebra 1..’

    So given that the average IQ of whites is given at 100, therefore most whites would need a tutor and to get through algebra 1?

    And most whites in all countries including Italy which has the highest in Europe at 102?

    And you wrote that the black and Hispanic test takers IQ was below 90 and would have difficulty if a problem such as 2 + x=4

    becomes ,for example , 2 – x =4. Somehow , they would know to

    subtract 2 from both sides of the equation for 2 +x= 4 to get 2

    but they wont know how to subtract 2 from both sides of 2-x=4

    to get -x=2 and then multiply both sides by negative one to get

    -2 for x? or just remember since -x=2 then x would be -2?

  53. Anonymous August 26, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    #49 wrote ‘If the average American income is $50,000 per year is it below stupid to say that because Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s incomes are millions a year all American have incomes of millions a year?”

    No it would not be below stupid if non-Americans claimed that the average income in America was 50,000 dollars, yet the average American living in their homelands were millionaires in America . A diaspora of plantation workers from india in Malaysia with IQ of 96 are average Indians.

    >49 ‘My IQ is 128. Does that mean that the average IQ of White native born American women is 128? No”. It means that about 97 percent of Americans men or women are below your score.

    To claim that the average in India is 81, then only 27.6 million

    (of all ages) would have an IQ of 110 and above (standard deviation 15 out of a population of 1.2 billion ). There are about 27 million Indians in the diaspora minus Nepal. And they do well academically in comparison to whites. And there are millions in colleges in India. The Indians in the diaspora are from a Sample of the Indian Population not from the top 2.3 percent. If so many bright Indians are abroad and in colleges in India or working as scientists , then there is no way India’s average IQ is 81. It is not possible. Lynn is wrong.

    India population

    1.2 billion then 2.3 percent (.023) would have an IQ of 111 and above (standard deviation 15). .023 times 1.2 billion=27.6 millions

    Somehow we are saying that Indian expats are from this tiny group of 27.6 million in India which includes children and the elderly . Not true.