Closing the Achievement Gap

Reihan Salam and Tino Sanandaji, National Review, November 15, 2011

During the recent struggle over collective-bargaining rights in Wisconsin, a number of left-of-center observers, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, pointed out that students in unionized Wisconsin do better on average than students in non-unionized Texas. The obvious conclusion, or so we were led to believe, is that teachers’ unions lead to better education.

There is, however, a problem with this argument. Drawing on data from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the political commentator David Burge pointed out that white students in Texas outperform white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas outperform black students in Wisconsin, and Hispanic students in Texas outperform Hispanic students in Wisconsin. This may look like a statistical paradox; Wisconsin does better on average, even though all groups do worse in Wisconsin. But there is an explanation: Wisconsin has a considerably larger share of white students than Texas, and white students tend to fare better than black and Hispanic students. This example highlights the increasing importance of demographics to the American education debate.

It is not difficult to understand the sources of the achievement gap. Particularly when confronted with the fact that more K–12 spending hasn’t generally meant better educational outcomes, even defenders of the teachers’ unions often highlight the role of poverty, family disruption, and historical disadvantage in limiting the ability of black and Hispanic students to thrive in school. As a general rule, native-born non-Hispanic whites have reaped the benefits of many generations of relative peace and prosperity. And this long experience of prosperity has contributed to the intergenerational transmission of wealth, tacit knowledge, and social networks that can give one a leg up. Social capital might also contribute to the stability of non-Hispanic white families, in which children are typically raised by both biological parents.

This is in stark contrast to the experience of African Americans, in no small part because of the lingering legacy of enslavement and segregation. {snip}

America’s Hispanic population, much of which has its origins in Mexico, faces its own set of challenges. Family breakdown is not as severe among Hispanics as it is among blacks, but it is still troubling, with 53 percent of Hispanics born out of wedlock. {snip}

Over time, the gap between the children of Mexican immigrants and the children of native-born parents tends to shrink but not disappear. Perhaps we should not be surprised that those with illiterate grandparents in rural Mexico are on average less likely to succeed than those with grandparents who led a prosperous middle-class life in the suburbs of Boston or Detroit.

{snip} But if our K–12 students are having a much harder time because of a complex, interrelated set of social problems, what are the implications for our economic future? What are we to make of the fact that a unionized public-education system in Wisconsin failed to meet these challenges, while the Texas model (when properly measured) has proven more successful?

We take no joy in bringing attention to a neglected problem: the ongoing lowering of the skill level of the U.S. work force. This phenomenon is caused by two factors: the stubborn achievement gap between ethnic minorities and the majority population, and the demographic transformation of the work force, which will soon have a “majority minority” composition. {snip}

{snip}

The sheer size of America’s racial and ethnic disparities may surprise readers. According to the latest statistics from the Census Bureau, the per capita income of whites is 76 percent higher than that of African Americans, and an astonishing 101 percent higher than that of Hispanics. {snip} One recent estimate shows that about one-sixth of whites do not graduate from high school. The corresponding figure is twice as high for African Americans, and nearly three times as high for Hispanics. Even after years of focused attention on the achievement gap, the differences in income and educational attainment between whites and minority groups are roughly the same now as they were a generation ago. {snip}

The Left often argues that the root cause of disparities in earnings is structural racism and discrimination. But a new study by economist James Heckman demonstrates that the disparities largely vanish once differences in skills are taken into account. This confirms similar findings in a study by the University of Chicago’s Derek Neal and another by Harvard University’s Roland Fryer. Overall, Hispanics and blacks who attain the same test scores as whites do not earn lower wages and are no less likely to enter college. We believe that disadvantages earlier in life account for the existence of skill disparities. Being assigned to worse schools and having a less stable family environment cause members of minority groups to enter the labor market with fewer skills than whites do, and therefore to earn less. But discrimination in the labor market itself does not appear to be the main explanation for the differences we have discussed.

The achievement gap is not new, but its impact on U.S. economic performance is growing. The reason for this is simply that the number of minority-group members, in particular Hispanics, as a share of the population is rising. {snip}

{snip}

It is very difficult to predict the trajectory of future economic growth. We can, however, offer crude estimates by drawing on what we know about the relationship between the skill level of workers and overall economic growth. Per capita GDP growth has already been dampened by the combination of an increasing Hispanic population share and a persistent ethnic gap in average income. In the coming four decades, the effect of demographic change is expected to be even more dramatic.

Let us extrapolate the historical average of 2 percent annual per capita income growth until 2050, and take aging and demographic change into account. Aging will shrink the working-age population, bringing income growth down to about 1.75 percent. Also, whites and Asians will go from two-thirds to a little over half of the working-age population–and the effect of that shift will depend on changes in the achievement gap.

The worst-case scenario is that the gaps between whites and non-whites in education and earnings will not change. In this scenario, the skills and earnings of the American work force decline, and per capita income growth falls to 1.49 percent per year. However, if we assume that policy reform or assimilation will close half of the educational-achievement gap by 2050, and that this in turn will close the earning gap by half, then the average growth rate per capita will be 1.85 percent per year. In this second scenario, the growing Hispanic population not only doesn’t reduce income growth, but actually mitigates some of the effects of population aging.

Comparing the two scenarios vividly illustrates the economic value of closing the achievement gap. The alternative futures available to us are an economy producing $38 trillion per year and an economy producing $44 trillion per year.

{snip}

According to the OECD, the United States currently spends over $1 trillion per year on education, more than 8 percent of its national income. This makes the U.S. the second-highest spender on education among industrialized nations, whether we measure by share of national income or absolute dollars per pupil. Expenditure per pupil in elementary and secondary school is now in excess of $10,000 per year. Adjusted for inflation, this is two and a half times the sum that was spent per pupil in 1970, according to the Digest of Education Statistics. Despite this spending increase, reading and math test scores were virtually flat over the same time period, while, as mentioned above, high-school-graduation rates actually declined.

We know by now that increased funding will not miraculously close the achievement gap. We also know that there is no single recipe for improving educational outcomes for minority students. Reducing the influence of the teachers’ unions seems to be an important first step, as Texas’s experience suggests. {snip}

Closing the achievement gap through new methods and new policy is not impossible, as gains made in recent years by black students demonstrate. In a recent study, Harvard economist Roland Fryer found that African-American students who entered high-quality charter schools in the Harlem Children’s Zone scored as well in mathematics as white children nationally.

{snip}

What hasn’t happened, and what needs to happen, is for middle-class voters to recognize that the achievement gap isn’t some sentimental side issue that shouldn’t concern serious people. Rather, it is absolutely central to America’s economic future.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Phil

    Anyone who still uses the term ‘conservative’ and is a race realist is a fool. Conservatism is just a buzz word for an elitist cabal of NWO sociopaths in Washington. Its time to admit that the Republican party is also dead set against the destruction of European America.

  • neanderthalDNA

    That was confusing.

    Are the authors avoiding the obvious and pointing at it simultaneously or are they still really blind?

    Nonetheless, interesting partial refutation of the “evil whitey” theory. Fascinating and sobering how a few average IQ point loss translates economically – $44 billion or $38 billion?

    Sounds plausible to me.

  • Anonymous

    “Closing the achievement gap through new methods and new policy is not impossible, as gains made in recent years by black students demonstrate. In a recent study, Harvard economist Roland Fryer found that African-American students who entered high-quality charter schools in the Harlem Children’s Zone scored as well in mathematics as white children nationally.”

    Isn’t this stat contradicted as having been part of the grade fudging scandal earlier this year?

    And here’s something else;

    It has been pointed out that the teachers unions have a detrimental effect on good teaching. This is because the unions practice seniority policies. So when austerity measures are adopted, many great and favorite teachers are let go, while many old, secure teachers are held onto, regardless of their quality as a teacher.

    By now, we are all aware of the corruption the unions in Wisconsin have had in place; the public employees support the unions, who in turn fund democratic campaigns whose principles reward the unions and union members with continued “rights to collective bargaining,” the big flaw being that public workers don’t produce goods that can produce revenues for the state and income to the populace, but rather services of variable and difficult to measure quality, and the “workers” in the various government bureaucracies want their salaries and benefits regardless of real state product value.

    Many communities across the nation such as mine has seen large growths of non-native born student bodies in our public schools. I have noticed some in my area that seem majority immigrant. Property taxes make up the majority of funding for these schools. I may have noticed this late, but I suddenly understand the link between all these well-established hustles and the drive for “Diversity.” Rather than shut down schools, local officials (at least here) seem to be filling schools with any bodies they can bring in, for the purpose of keeping schools opened and retaining the plethora of public employment positions, administrative, and auxiliary bureaucracies that creating, growing, and maintaining these Diversity driven employment policies require. That is why my property taxes are so high.

    This is also, like our health care system, untenable. It has to go broke because the largely Hispanic and black students will not go on to become the sort of movers and shakers that create wealth and jobs, and Asians can’t and won’t “save us.” As in areas where this formula has already failed, like Southern California, all that will happen is economic collapse and the rise of black market economies, run by gangs. When the majority of American communities succumb to this inevitable result, there will be nothing left for the parasitical system to fed upon.

    Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride down the slope.

  • Anonymous

    “whites have reaped the benefits of many generations of relative peace and prosperity”

    If you don’t count two world wars, the Great Depression, the Napoleonic wars, the Irish famine, the Industrial Revolution, the American civil war, the hardships of early pioneering, catastrophic pandemics, the medieval wars, invasions, feudalism, indentured servitude, numerous displacements of population, the collapse of the Roman Empire, unpredictable northern weather, crop failures and countless trials and tribulations on the path to a technological, democratic society reconciling god and science.

  • Skipper

    The subject article dances around facts and logical conclusions like a person attempting to walk on hot coals. Please click on the NRO link at the bottom and read the comments by the NRO readers. They have far more courage and honesty than the tremulous authors of the article. I suppose NRO still believes that by being politically correct they can maintain their acceptability with the Eastern liberal establishment which is their highest priority, rather than the ascendancy of the conservative movement in America.

  • Anonymous

    The National Review has been overtaken by neo conservative globalists and frankly I hope they go under. Look at the names of the geniuses who wrote this acticle; “Reihan Salam and Tino Sanandaji” That pretty much sums up everything for me.

  • rjp

    I think the US needs to be out of “public” education completely.

    Magnet school everyone.

    People will build their “own” schools. Blacks will build miserable failure schools that nobody will go to after a few years and during the few “good” years the budgets will be fleeced by the administrators of the black run magnet school. Whites will build their own schools which will prosper and be constantly full and the blacks will sue to get in.

    It’s a bad circle.

  • BO_Bill

    Re: Disparities in ‘Earnings’ Caused by Structural Racism and Discrimination

    The compensation of the average black family with a student scoring ~980 on the SAT exceeds $200,000 per year.

    The compensation of the average white family with a student scoring ~980 on the SAT is less than $20,000 per year.

    http://goo.gl/KEbVD

  • anonymous

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to render these non-achievers functional than try to figure out how to make them into members of the professional class?

    The gap that needs to be closed is the gap between the careers available in past eras to average and below average people and what is available today.

    If there are people who cannot achieve at even an average level no matter what is done to help them, then the extent of anyone’s obligation is to try to make suitable work available for them, and no more. If that’s the way it works out and no human agency can change it, then you have to live with what is, and that’s the end of the story.

  • aj

    Why bother pushing borderline retards to do the impossible? It would be more productive to encourage those who have actual potential.

    For every billion dollars flushed down the toilet on some harebrained black empowerment social program we could fund another Stanford or MIT and lead the world once again in science and technology. For every “Headstart” or school breakfast program we could have another space station or particle accelerator.

  • Cassiodorus

    Another dispatch from the school of movement “conservatism” that brought us Piyush Jindal and Nimrata Randwaha. What a grotesque parody of itself establishment “conservatism” has become. And from National Review, no less. Joe Sobran, Will Herberg, Willmore Kendall and the rest must be spinning in their graves.

  • Gerald Martin

    An article by two non-whites in a no longer conservative magazine. So I’m not surprised that when you strip away the verbiage, the core of the thing is their belief that the “achievement gap” can be closed by training blacks and hispanics to be nice, to do their homework, and not beat up the teacher or their fellow students.

    No doubt better behaved minority students won’t do quite as badly on tests – the KIPP, TFA and other charters have shown that – but they haven’t really closed the gap or even narrowed it significantly, once you eliminate all the statistical tricks they use to produce results showing that (for example) blacks in the “…Harlem Children’s Zone scored as well in mathematics as white children, nationally.”

    By the way, the authors point to Texas as some kind of success story in teaching minorities, especially hispanics. No way, boys. I taught in Texas schools and still track what’s going on. It’s a disaster area, like all states with heavy black & hispanic populations. But Texans (everyone should know this by now) lie more brazenly than other folks. This applies to our public school officials as well.

    Interestingly, the authors don’t recommend any attempt to improve cognitive abilities among blacks & hispanics. One could speculate on why, but the general mushy and otherwise idealistic tone of their writing makes this total guesswork, so I’ll refrain.

    One good thing about the original article in NR: the comments. A lot of readers aren’t having it, and rake the authors over the coals for not acknowledging the role of low black IQ and low IQ immigration since 1965. Several comments are obviously from race-realists who sound like AR types.

    But overall, the article is more an indicator of how low NATIONAL REVIEW has fallen than it is a positive contribution to understanding the real reasons for the so-called “achievement gap.”

  • heron maduugoobamma

    Yet another black attacking blacks at McDonalds. I’m lovin’ it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf0IYuOaAnk

  • sbuffalonative

    “Harvard economist Roland Fryer found that African-American students who entered high-quality charter schools in the Harlem Children’s Zone scored as well in mathematics as white children nationally.”

    Imagine that, a black professor at Harvard and the darling of the New York Times, has found that black and white students can score as well as each other. It never ceases to amaze me that black professors can find things no one else can.

    WIKIPEDIA:

    Fryer is widely regarded to be one of black America and Harvard’s rising stars, having published numerous economics-related papers in prominent academic journals over the past few years.[2] The New York Times ran an extensive profile of Fryer, entitled “Toward a Unified Theory of Black America,” in March 2005 that dealt extensively with Fryer’s rough upbringing: Fryer’s mother left when he was very young, and his father, who beat his son, was convicted of rape,[3] effectively leaving Fryer to fend for himself. Fryer became a “full fledged gangster by his teens”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_G._Fryer,_Jr.

  • Question Diversity

    12 Gerald Martin:

    You mentioned KIPP. People like these arrogant subcontinentals writing for National Reprobate above would laud programs like KIPP, amazingly they missed it this time.

    But let me re-post a December 2007 comment here at AR by a poster named “Jill.” I saved it in a text file for posterity, knowing there would be occasions like these.

    ***

    Exactly! That’s what I think every time I read about some “miracle” after-school/summer school program that has managed to bring a select handful of poor blacks up to white standards through intensive remediation. Journalists and teachers rave about how they’ve finally found the key to educational equality, but never mention that the same effort applied to whites would have turned out college-level students and not just mediocre “average” students.

    I read an article a year ago about an experimental charter school KIPP academy, I think, that had increased the test scores of poor black 6th & 7th graders close to white average levels. I wish I had saved the link, but I remember the article quite well because it made me want to throw my laptop across the room. The journalist proudly recounted their class schedule:

    7am – full breakfast served to ALL students free of charge (thank you tax-payers!). Bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice, etc. No expense spared since the educators believed a heavy breakfast made the kids smarter.

    7:30 – 2:30 – regular school day with intensive focus on basic skills in reading, writing, math and science. Class sizes were small and the school had strict discipline requirements with mandated class participation, uniforms, etc. Trouble makers were kicked back to the public school system. School provided free lunch, of course.

    2:30 – 5:00 – mandated after school programs on campus. Worst students spent this time in one-on-one tutoring with teachers, better students did sports or art.

    5:00 – school-provided dinner in the cafeteria. Yup, you read that right! The educators didn’t trust the parents to feed the kids, and wanted to keep them on campus all day.

    Rest of the evening up to 8:30pm or so – SUPERVISED homework. All the kids had to sit at tables and do their homework under the watchful eyes of their teachers. The educators openly admitted that these kids would never do their homework if they weren’t forced to, and the parents wouldn’t make them do it either.

    The kids in this school ate all meals at the school free of charge during the week and only went home to sleep at night. Last, but not least, was SATURDAY school!! A half-day of intensive one-on-one tutoring with teachers and community volunteers, and free breakfast and lunch of course!

    The journalist admitted that this program was very expensive, but never mentioned that this program involved 3 to 4 times as much teaching time as a regular school. Plus, it was basically an orphanage without bedrooms.

    Rather than tweaking standard public schooling, it merely proved that the only dependable way to “close the achievement gap” was spending 4 times as much time and effort, and to take parental duties away from their families and raise the kids under intensive care! Any yet, this was clearly supposed to inspire whites to dump more money into this educational boondoggle.

    ***

  • Gerald Martin

    Question Diversity (#15): Excellent post about KIPP. I might add that the requirements – especially the overall workload – put on the TEACHERS (much more than the students) at these KIPP type schools are brutal – they demand the teachers have the dedication and work ethic of the early Jesuits prosyletizing the Algonquins. Most of these teachers are very intelligent and very altruistic, but their burnout rate is also very high. Also, many of them come into KIPP or Teach for America primarily as a way to enhance their resumes for the job they eventually hope to get on Wall Street or some Fortune 500 employer. So there is high turnover, but also an unending stream of bright, idealistic young white people who will stay for a few years and then move on to prestige jobs, helped by the impeccable PC credentials they have earned in these schools.

    But the long-term effect their efforts – while perpetuating our delusion that “the achievement gap can be closed” – will be nil.

    And one wonders what the effect would be if these glittering young people would spend their talents and energy in helping poor white students instead of our racial enemies.

  • sshadow

    It’s amazing how how absolutely and without the slightest transgression the NR writers show complete obedience to the rules of political correctness. They never stepped over the line. No wonder I let their subscription lapse long ago.

    How can anyone not deal with the most fundamental factor affecting their cause and effect discussion? The most critical aspect of this topic is genetics and IQ. To ignore those is to transform interesting and vital into dull and pedestrian. The readership must be brought to understand that the impending demographic shift will turn our nation into one that is part third world and part elite. More and more desireable aspects of life will become unaffordable. The intractable nature of genetic and of consquent learning and per capita income should be paramount, but instead is entirely ignored. The tract reads more like a government pamphlet on littering, than an enlightening peice on the stated topic.

  • Rhialto

    Note to those under 30:

    Before you were born, the National Review was a pro-western civilization, anti-liberal publication. Many statements that the National Review published in the 1960’s, today’s National Review would classify as racist. I recall ancient articles in the NR on schools, and lack of achievement of diverse groups was attributed mainly to diverse mental capacities. The concept that Hispanic immigrants deserved special treatment would have been too absurd for the NR to even consider.

  • Mike Harrigan

    There is no denying that blacks can vastly improve from the bottom rung where they currently reside. But White’s can also vastly improve.

    I can honestly say that I knew more in the 4th grade than an average 8th grader from today. I know this from many, many years of coaching youth sports. I saw a steady decline in average knowledge (not intelligence) over the last 30 or so years. It would stun most people to see how dumbed down schools have become. I mean you always hear about it, but to actually SEE how much standards have been lowered today is a real eye opener. All in an effort to make blacks APPEAR to be closing the achievement gap.

    Sorry leftists and other assorted do gooders. That is NOT going to happen. Not now, not next year, not ever. Sure blacks can greatly improve. But if you remove the restraints placed on White students, they will also improve and the gap will remain basically the same. Or even widen.

  • Madison Grant

    Whoa! Did I just read two “conservatives” blame low black test scores on “the legacy of slavery”?

    But this is nothing new from Neocon Review magazine; in the ’70s their publisher William Rusher debated William Shockley at Yale in a feeble attempt to discredit race realism.

  • Anonymous

    #15 – your comment about a program that is successful at closing the achievement gap is good but it’s not highlighting the right thing. I believe that all the “free” meals and intensive one-on-one instruction help a little, but they would not close the achievement gap because the achievement gap is caused by innate (genetic) IQ differences.

    The magical ingredient that worked in that study wasn’t all the “free” stuff, but rather, that they kicked out low-performing students. Researchers call this cherry-picking the data. They cherry-picked their students. They say it’s because they kicked out ones who wouldn’t comply with the program, but of course those are also the ones who are unable to comply with the program due to lack of IQ. Keep all the average white students, cherrypick the top black students, squint real hard, and you can close the achievement gap.

    ALL the cases where the achievement gap has been closed have been due to either a) cherry-picking the black students (kicking out bad performers, selecting the top performers from the pool of available subjects, etc) or b) cheating or most likely a combination of the two factors. That’s always the basis for any of these success stories.

    I’m sure blacks would do better in a school system that has strict (almost military) discipline, teaches the basics, and avoids Afrocentric and esteem-building nonsense. In fact the esteem building is harmful, and high self-concept correlates with decreased achievement, increased criminality, etc.

    Of course the various teachers’ unions love all the free stuff and intensive small class sizes. The #1 employer remaining in Detroit is the Detroit school system, which is probably also one of the worst school systems in the US. Our schools have turned into job programs for people who can’t achieve anything anything in the competitive world. That’s not helping blacks but that’s not what’s holding them back either.

    The greatest thinkers in history did what they did without any of the amenities of a modern school, possibly without a formal structured education of any kind. There were no computers in Aristotle’s classroom. But I do know there were only whites in that classroom.

  • Anonymous

    “the achievement gap isn’t some sentimental side issue that shouldn’t concern serious people. Rather, it is absolutely central to America’s economic future”.

    The author says this as though closing the ‘gap’ is an abstract problem that must be addressed. It’s already being addressed as part of official policy. The legal method of closing the gap is to hold back legislate against and constrain whites.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    #3 Anon writes:

    It has been pointed out that the teachers unions have a detrimental effect on good teaching. This is because the unions practice seniority policies. So when austerity measures are adopted, many great and favorite teachers are let go, while many old, secure teachers are held onto, regardless of their quality as a teacher.

    I am no fan of the teachers’ union, being a member myself (closed shop state) BUT I do agree with seniority rules. Who gets to say which teachers are “beloved”, “great” or “favorite.?” Some of those “old, secure teachers” are the finest, most intelligent in the entire district, have much higher standards and better teaching methods than the newer teachers who have little knowledge in their content area but are able to spout off Marxist slogans while hanging posters of Mao and Che behind their desks and telling kids to call them by their first names.

    If not for seniority rules, it wouldn’t break down this way when it comes time for lay-offs, as has happened recently in my district, the LAUSD — it would break down strictly along RACIAL lines. Approximately 50% of the administrators in my district are black, many of those black females. But for seniority (upheld by my union) ALL White and Asian teachers would be let go first or assigned the worst classes, Hispanics a close second — regardless of any perceived ability.

    This is why seniority is THE ONLY FAIR way to determine assignments, lay-offs, class selections, etc. Otherwise it is RACIAL. And, we White teachers have NO RIGHTS outside of union rules and NO White-based organizations to advocate for us.

    Bon

  • Jennifer

    The only way to close the gap between whites and non-whites is to import large numbers of Asians; in fact, we should increase immigration so that Asians make up 40 percent of the population rather than the current 10 percent. If Asians outnumbered Blacks and Hispanics put together, the minority-white gap would be reversed. I wonder if liberals will start wondering if tests are culturally biased in favor of Asians and start programs to help whites catch up and close the gap.

  • Anonymous

    “Another is the growing frustration among African Americans and Hispanics, who are keenly aware that traditional public schools are failing their children. This, in turn, has forced a growing number of Democrats to reconsider their party’s alliance with the teachers’ unions, and to consider more innovative approaches to improving educational performance.

    The “African Americans” and the Hispanics are the ones failing their children. Let’s not blame the public schools and certainly not the teachers. Many European immigrants who arrived here in the beginning of the 20th century were either totally or functionally illiterate. Their children achieved in school because the parents wanted them to have something better. My Hispanic colleagues often told me stories about how their parents resented their children’s achievements. One of them related a story about her making the honor roll in her school in the Bronx and how her parents received the news with “So you think that you’re better than us”.

    Large resources and dedicated teachers are not going to affect the performance of the students if the students have no wish to cooperate nor is revisionist history based on the fictional grandiose achievements of Black roll models.

    Many of us who attended Catholic elementary schools in the late 40s and early 50s entered class rooms with as many as 60 kids and nuns many of whom had no college degrees. My first grade class at St. Columba’s in North Philadelphia had 65. Most of us learned all the skills that helped us achieve in the workplace and in high school. If you were punished in school for some infraction, you got no sympathy from parents upon arriving home at the end of the day but rather an additional punishment. There were only a handful of Blacks in my particular school and most of them did well because there were two parents at home who pushed them to perform. These of course were the years preceding the “Great Society” of Lyndon B. Johnson at whose feet we could lay most of the blame for the disaster we now face. Studies done in Harlem during the late forties showed that the majority of Black kids lived in families with two parents.

  • Bud

    What’s really gag worthy about this sort of article from “conservatives” is that they reduce everything to economics. These soul-less creatures are bigger believers in Economic Man than any Marxist ever was. We’re supposed to be happy about the extermination of our culture and ultimately our physical extermination as long as the land mass that used to be our nation prospers. Of course it’s all nonsense, and the nation will sink into a Latin American style third-world country. But NR types don’t have the guts to actually oppose the process, they just try to spin it so they can keep on with their careers. I suppose that parts of this article could be taken as evidence that establishment conservatives are beginning to feel a little heat from the alt-right, though. A very small glimmer.

  • HH

    Ah, more wisdom from Conservatives. Anyone here still not caught on yet?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Look at the names of the geniuses who wrote this article; ‘Reihan Salam and Tino Sanandaji.’ That pretty much sums up everything for me.

    Exactly. The tone of the article is condescending.

    Notice Whites are referred to as non-Hispanic whites, or whites, non-capitalized, while Hispanics and African-American are capitalized. This is done intentionally.

    What are the implications for our economic future?

    Good question.

    What happens when there aren’t enough Whites left to provide “charity” for non-Whites? What happens when there aren’t enough Whites left for the government to pick-pocket or to extract money from via confiscatory tax schemes to send to non-Whites to facilitate breeding thru Section 8 housing, welfare, food stamps, WIC and more?

    Even more amazing are some of the ideas that browns and blacks have, ideas about the power and greatness in store once they don’t have White people to kick around anymore. Yeah, it’s gonna be a real party. Until things start to break. Then who are they going to call? Each other?

    http://goo.gl/wqtMM

    As for the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Brookings Institute reports:

    True to his campaign promise, President Obama… intended to replicate the HCZ in 20 cities across the country. The program received a $10 million appropriation from Congress in 2010… The administration requested $210 million in new funding for the 2011 budget year to move from planning to implementation.

    And its claim “that African-American students who entered HCZ’s high-quality charter schools scored as well in mathematics as white children nationally.”

    Diane Ravitch writes in The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education:

    Its three charter schools are far better funded than nearby regular public schools. Its small high school has classes of fewer than fifteen students with two licensed teachers in each classroom. Because it has a very wealthy board of trustees, HCZ has an endowment of $200 million.

    Even with the ample resources available to HCZ, its charters had many students in 2010 who did not meet state standards for proficiency in reading: 62 percent in one school, and 38 percent in the other.

    In the seventh grade, where students were in their third year, only 15 percent met state standards. When Geoffrey Canada first recruited students to his charter middle school, they entered with low scores; after three years, when their scores remained low, he kicked out the entire class.

    The neighborhood public schools can’t do this.

    Bon

  • WR the elder

    During the recent struggle over collective-bargaining rights in Wisconsin, a number of left-of-center observers, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, pointed out that students in unionized Wisconsin do better on average than students in non-unionized Texas.

    Paul Krugman is the stupidest Nobel prize winning economist I know of. He thinks that our current economic malaise is because the government isn’t deficit spending enough! He believes that the massive deficits run up to fight World War II were a good thing and should be repeated. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/28/paul-krugman-spending_n_984921.html. Apparently Krugman is unaware that during the war gas was rationed, you couldn’t buy a car, and people lived very frugally. When the war ended and government spending was slashed at the same time that tens of thousands of troops were coming home and looking for work, Keynesians like Krugman expected an economic collapse. Instead, that’s when the economy boomed. World War II did not cause an economic boom, the ending of the war did. It is true that during the war unemployment declined, for the simple reason that the men were shipped off to war. We could reduce unemployment now by shipping illegal aliens out of this country and ending the importation of more legal immigrants, but this is one sound policy Krugman would never advocate.

    Krugman also argued that the rising price of gold is due to Glen Beck hyping the stuff. See http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/the-glenn-beck-debeers-connection/. This genius economist is apparently unaware that the major buyers of gold are India and China. I guess they all listen to Glenn Beck too. And of course as a New York Times editorialist he always takes the left wing line on every issue.

    So no surprise, Krugman completely misses the racial explanation for the Wisconsin-Texas disparity. As for National Review, they can admit that these racial disparities exist but also stick to the conventional line that they are caused by the “legacy of slavery and segregation”. As #15 Question Diversity has pointed out it takes heroic measures to bring black students up to the white level. And even then it’s not clear that the gap is closed over the long term. If educating black children to the same level as white children costs 4 times as much as educating white children how can diversity be seen as anything but a huge drag on the economy?

  • Anonymoose

    Interesting comment by #15 Question diversity. The KIPP Academy program simply resembles a typical day in the life of an upwardly mobile Asian family or a gentrified white family. I am imagine the KIPP students are at least a somewhat selected group. Interesting that nobody seems to suggest a similar program for largest population group in America. The problem is, it might start producing too much success. That wouldn’t do, not for the American elite, which I am sure does not want to see the great mass of whites in America begin to produce more of America’s engineers, physicians, scientists and academic scholars.

    The American elite does not want the cold winds of nationalism and real social responsibility blowing through its corridors. America’s enemies, above all the Maoist regime in China and Islamists worldwide, see all of these things about American society, and are ready to exploit them. They know that if the present situation festers for a generation longer, there will be no America as it has been known to stand in the way of their designs.

  • elitist

    Any apparently “amazing” results in expensive charter schools for blacks are always based on systematic fraud.

    Intensive and expensive training will get modest results, but never close the gap (if the same extravagant measures are applied to blacks and whites, then the scores of both groups will rise).

    And around and around we go…. Informed people have known all of this for years.

    If they could find even a tiny handful of black students in America with IQs over ca 130, they would all be national celebrities.

    Where are they??

    Where are the “resident black geniuses” of the Ivy League universities?

    The black chess champions, physicists, mathematicians, etc.?

    The great black linguists, philosophers, historians, etc.?

    Harvard Medical School graduates blacks every year: are any of them working in prominent positions at the most prestigious medical institutions?

    If these black high achievers existed, we would be hearing about them 24/7.

    We are in a holding pattern because it is politically impossible to let the public know the truth known to every education expert, geneticist, psychologist, etc.

    as I have said before, until a substantial body of experts blows the whistle, this comical circus moves onto the next act.

    Some school in DC will cherry pick a handful of the best black students from among millions and spend a half-million dollars per student per year in order to get them up to the level of the poorest and most disadvantaged whites.

  • Turtle

    At the risk of over simplifying, here are my reform ideas. Bring back tracking. Grouping the the little dears by ability worked very well in the past. Expel students who won’t or can’t behave. No really expel them. No in school expulsions. No transferring to a different school. Teach basic reading and math skills. These are more important than any other activity, they come first. Accept that some children will be left behind. Not everyone is college material. What is better,a trade school diploma and a good job or a college degree in Communications and working as a clerk at Wally World? Teachers must renew their teachers license every five years. Can’t pass it, you’re out of a job. This will help prune away the the deadwood in the field. Last thing, money is not the answer. Google Kansas City desegregation. Two billion dollars spent,no positive results achieved.

  • Lee

    “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

    So sayeth the oft quoted adage…

    For decades, the politically correct pathogens have ignored the biological realities between the races and promoted the egalitarian “equal outcomes” ideology. The reality is that America has been transformed from a 90% white nation into one that will soon see the white population sink below 50%.

    We have seen pockets of what will occur given that scenario. Detroit, Southern California, and clusters within every city in the US.

    But to speak out against the crime, deteriorating infrastructure such as schools, and the lower quality of life brings the Pavlonian response of “that’s racist”.

    And America continues it’s downward spiral….

  • Jack in Chicago

    Reihan Salam and Tino Sanandaji blame slavery in the South 150 years ago for Black students doing poorly in Wisconsin year 2011, they write:

    “This is in stark contrast to the experience of African Americans, in no small part because of the lingering legacy of enslavement and segregation.”

    Maybe National Review/Jonah Goldberg Review hires Muslim Asian “conservatives” because they work for less and their only knowledge of American history is what they see on American TV and in Hollywood; it’s understandable that these H1B Visa Asian “conservatives” are clueless on American history and blame evil White racists for the poor academic performance of Blacks.

    And really folks – why does American Renaissance bother to link to any National Review articles? Nobody cares what lying Neo Conservatives have to say, the positions on immigration and racial issues are identical to the New York Times.

  • David Ashton

    Teacher employment experience in English state secondary schools is a bit different: experienced classroom realist teachers of the old-fashioned sort in culture and knowledge are encouraged to retire, or driven to it by bureaucratic burdens and compulsory “multi-culturalism”, and much cheaper students from the “education” colleges replace them with their heads stuffed with leftwing sociology, but a few years into the job they also wish to get out. White yobs from sink council estates are bad enough, but black “pupils” are worse still.

  • Question Diversity

    Repeating for those needing, my quote in #15 wasn’t my own, but from someone with the screen name “Jill.”

    21 Anonymous:

    I remember “Jill” saying in that same AR story that she thought that, in spite of KIPP claiming otherwise, that they had some sort of silent de facto admissions standards, or at least some way to screen out bad apples before they set foot in the door. I forgot to save that comment. Hopefully Jill will come back and give us the rest of the story.

  • Anonymous

    “if Asians outnumbered Blacks and Hispanics put together, the minority-white gap would be reversed. I wonder if liberals will start wondering if tests are culturally biased in favor of Asians and start programs to help whites catch up and close the gap”.

    No they wouldn’t. When people of color do well it’s something they celebrate. The celebration won’t end until every white is dead. Then it will be some kind of after party celebration.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    it takes heroic measures to bring black students up to the white level. And even then it’s not clear that the gap is closed over the long term. If educating black children to the same level as white children costs 4 times as much as educating white children how can diversity be seen as anything but a huge drag on the economy?

    You will never convince me, after years on the front lines as a high school teacher, that it is possible to bring black children up to the White level.

    I have seen no real world examples of this of unless it’s the extremely rare black child that has an IQ of 100+, which the VAST majority certainly do not. Average IQs of 85 are not capable of understanding high school level material, even the super dumbed down version that passes for “rigorous” curricula today.

    Those with average IQs of 85 do not have the aptitude, let alone the ability, to comprehend math past a very rudimentary level, certainly not Algebra. They also struggle with reading and reading comprehension despite heroic efforts and targeted instruction that is begun BEFORE they enter school.

    Most blacks top out at about a 4th grade level and anything past that is a wasted effort on the part of the teacher and student, also a humongous waste of White taxpayer money.

    THIS is what needs to be understood and disseminated far and wide, especially to the government: No matter how many fiat dollars are spent trying to raise blacks to the level of Whites, it will NEVER happen. 50 years of hard, first hand evidence has proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt. I should know; I’ve been subjected to every “new improved” government program that has promised to “close the achievement gap once and for all!”

    Not one of these billion dollar plus programs has worked. Let me repeat: NOT ONE HAS WORKED.

    Until and unless the Marxist lie is shattered that “IQ is meaningless” and “all students have equal aptitude” once and for all and it is shown decisively that White oppression does not cause black failure, the government will continue to roll out one program after another doomed to failure.

    The sin is these black and hispanic-targeted programs are implemented at the expense of White children who are shoved aside, ignored, demeaned and blamed for non-White failure.

    Education predicts IQ score, not the other way around.

    Charles Murray, Real Education, p. 174.

    Bon

  • Question Diversity

    One way to “close the achievement gap” — Water down the curriculum so that everyone can pass.

    Here’s the money paragraph from this long article:

    Thanks to the new restrictionists, we have become familiar with worrying statistics on the surprisingly lax requirements of college today. On average, students socialize more than 40 hours a week but attend and prepare for class only 26 or 27. Only half of the sophomores in a recent study said they had had a class during the last term that required them to write 20 pages or more during the term, and one-third said they had taken no class that required them to read as much as 40 pages a week. Even among English majors in the University of California, half say they do less than 80 percent of the assigned reading in their courses. If English majors do not read, what can we expect of business or communications majors? The answer is, not much. Nearly two-thirds of all UC students said they do less than 80 percent of the reading for their classes.

    http://goo.gl/Isiih

    I had almost that much homework in my world history class in sophomore year of high school, and two classes in my senior year of HS, English Lit and Western Civ, each had more than that. And I’m not that old!

  • Old White Jim

    Has anyone listened to the things coming out of the mouths of those college educated White kids at the Occupy Wall Street protests? It is clear to me that the the social engineering schemes have gone a long way in closing the achievement gap. We now have Prole Whites who manage to get through 16 years of schooling without absorbing any useful information about the world around them.

    Remember the old advertising campaign in the late 60’s and early 70’s that promoted orange juice as a beverage that was good any time of day? Their slogan was: Orange Juice. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

    Our educators should promote their dumbed-down schools the same way: Ignorance. It’s not just for Blacks anymore.

  • Sheila

    In a comment on November 14, “Jennifer” proposed increased immigration so that Asians compose 30% of the U.S. as a panacea for all our ills. Her comment here now proposes they make up 40% of the U.S. Jennifer, I have a simple solution for you. Please return to China and teach all your brilliant compatriots yourself!

  • Anonymous

    23 — Bon, From the Land of Babble wrote at 11:52 PM on November 16:

    #3 Anon writes:

    “It has been pointed out that the teachers unions have a detrimental effect on good teaching. This is because the unions practice seniority policies. So when austerity measures are adopted, many great and favorite teachers are let go, while many old, secure teachers are held onto, regardless of their quality as a teacher.

    I am no fan of the teachers’ union, being a member myself (closed shop state) BUT I do agree with seniority rules. Who gets to say which teachers are “beloved”, “great” or “favorite.?” Some of those “old, secure teachers” are the finest, most intelligent in the entire district, have much higher standards and better teaching methods than the newer teachers who have little knowledge in their content area but are able to spout off Marxist slogans while hanging posters of Mao and Che behind their desks and telling kids to call them by their first names.

    If not for seniority rules, it wouldn’t break down this way when it comes time for lay-offs, as has happened recently in my district, the LAUSD — it would break down strictly along RACIAL lines. Approximately 50% of the administrators in my district are black, many of those black females. But for seniority (upheld by my union) ALL White and Asian teachers would be let go first or assigned the worst classes, Hispanics a close second — regardless of any perceived ability.

    This is why seniority is THE ONLY FAIR way to determine assignments, lay-offs, class selections, etc. Otherwise it is RACIAL. And, we White teachers have NO RIGHTS outside of union rules and NO White-based organizations to advocate for us.

    Bon”

    #3 Anon replies;

    I see your point and it is clear. Still, I note that you said SOME. I personally recall some old teachers in my NorCal high school (60s) that were obviously simply occupying their jobs waiting for retirement, allowing the worst students to disrupt (blacks usually) and otherwise blunder through their jobs daily. I got the argument against union seniority from a FOX News presentation on the subject last week or so, so it is subject to questioning, certainly.

    I would be interested to know if you think that the entire ideal of a public school system is obsolete?

  • Phil

    The irony of “Jennifer” is that the average Chinamen is a mediocre peasant who defecates into a hole in the ground for lack of 20th century plumbing.

    The Chinese who have any intelligence are already outside of China…

  • Anonymous

    We’ve come to expect this kind of garbage from NR and NRO. Bill Buckley knew where the money and power were, so he turned NR into a neocon mouthpiece. People like Buchanan and Sobran were stabbed in the back by this phony (remember his fake aristocratic accent?). Buchanan did ok, Sobran did not. Now it’s run by people like Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry who give us non-white foreigners who masquerade as conservatives. It’s a joke.

  • Anonymous

    To *8 BO_Bill, you’re so right. I don’t know the figures since the recession, but middle-class black couples earned more than middle-class white couples in Queens, New York. With the advantages of affirmative action, government jobs at all levels, preferential treatment in every aspect of life that we can think of, it’s obvious why.

    It’s the intelligence/IQ gap!

  • Anonymous

    “Reducing the influence of the teachers’ unions seems to be an important first step, as Texas’s experience suggests.”

    A VIDEO IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

    Meet Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union

    (Kinda) black and nasty

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1YXOSaMZzs

  • margaret

    Jack in Chicago wrote “And really folks – why does American Renaissance bother to link to any National Review articles? Nobody cares what lying Neo Conservatives have to say, the positions on immigration and racial issues are identical to the New York Times.”

    I absolutely agree. I don’t send liberal propaganda news articles from the New York Slimes or the Nation. I haven’t read NR in years. I stopped when I realized that it’s main purpose is unregistered lobbying for a foreign nation and weeping and wailing about the vulgarity of the culture.

    Conservatives are as bad as liberals with their obession with analyzing the education gap to prove that blacks are not one the average borderline retarded but just need some kind of miracle cure for their low IQs.

    I believe the average Indian IQ is 80. Half the population is totally illiterate. If they want to pontificate about educational problems, let them go back to India and pontificate. Indian education is worse off than ours.

  • Anonymous

    ref. 32

    Tax supported (public) schools are in every key sense truly

    “public” and installation of audi-video taping of classrooms

    is easily feasible in terms of material demands (political

    resistance and AFT resistance would be enormous ). Making such

    video footage accessible online would give the sort of feedback

    that would straighten out much of what’s wrong. It becomes readily evident what’s working, which teachers can and can’t, and

    which teachers could but won’t, and which students or student grouping are sabotaging the learning of the rest of the class.

    Stark reality works wonders.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    I might add that the requirements – especially the overall workload – put on the TEACHERS (much more than the students) at these KIPP type schools are brutal – they demand the teachers have the dedication and work ethic of the early Jesuits prosyletizing the Algonquins.

    Exactly. People have NO idea. Many of the charter school that have been opened in the LAUSD as an “alternative” to traditional government schools demand an enormous expenditure of time and commitment on the teachers’ part, including long days, evenings and weekends.

    The burnout rate is extremely high — I’ve heard anecdotal stories of some of these charter schools turning over 1/3 or more of their staff each year, some even more.

    I would be interested to know if you think that the entire ideal of a public school system is obsolete?

    After giving your question some thought, I came across the perfect answer in a comment “elitist” wrote on another thread:

    If I were hired as an education consultant to reform basic and higher education in the US, I would recommend nuking the system and starting from scratch – it really is that broken.

    Yes, it really is that broken, beyond repair.

    Bon