Educational Diversity and Structural Racism

Critical race theory rears its ugly head yet again.

A local magnet school that’s often ranked as the nation’s top high school radically changed its application process for the incoming class, hoping to increase admissions of Black, Hispanic, and otherwise disadvantaged students, thus generating quite a bit of controversy. The results were announced earlier this week and were pretty much what everyone expected.

WaPo (“After admissions changes, Thomas Jefferson High will welcome most diverse class in recent history, officials say“):

Prestigious magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology will welcome the most diverse class of students in recent school history next fall, according to data released Wednesday by Fairfax County Public Schools.

The class will include more Black and Hispanic students than any class admitted in the past four years. It will include fewer Asian students, who have historically made up the vast majority of admitted students, and a larger percentage of female students.

But the biggest jump came in admission offers to economically disadvantaged students, meaning students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. In previous years, these students accounted for 2 percent or fewer of all children offered spots at Thomas Jefferson, known as TJ. This year, 25 percent of all students receiving offers are economically disadvantaged, according to Fairfax data.

[…]

About 46 percent of offers went to female students this year, an increase from the past four years.

So, goals achieved.

The TJ Class of 2025 is the first to be admitted under a new admissions system approved late last year that asked school staffers to consider applicants’ socioeconomic backgrounds and did away with a long-standing, notoriously difficult admissions test, as well as a $100 application fee. Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand implemented these changes in a bid to boost diversity of all kinds at the school.

In an interview Wednesday, Brabrand hailed the demographics of the Class of 2025 as proof that his admissions revisions worked, after many long years in which previous superintendents tried, and failed, to enact changes with the same goal. The school, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has enrolled disproportionately low percentages of Black and Hispanic students since its founding in 1985.

A $100 application fee is obviously a barrier to low-income families. Presumably, it was waivable but having to apply for a waiver is both time-consuming and embarrassing. So, getting rid of it certainly helped a lot.

Dropping the standardized admissions test, though, removes a means of fairly comparing students from very different schools. But I guess that was the point. According to another report, in the local Patch (“TJ High School Admits 550 Students Under New Admissions Policy“),

Spots in the class of 2025 were determined by the top 1.5 percent of applicants from every middle school. For the first time in at least a decade, every Fairfax County Public Schools middle school has students who were accepted to TJ.

This is the technically-non-race-based system famously implemented by the University of Texas years ago with precisely the same goals. Since our local schools vary greatly in rankings, owing almost entirely to local demographics, pulling in the top students from each of them is going to produce very different outcomes than open competition.

Still, on paper at least, student performance for the incoming class looks very much like past classes.

The school saw an increase in applications this year — 3,034 compared to 2,539 in the last school year. The 3.9074 average GPA of applicants was higher than recent years, while the 3.9539 average GPA of accepted students was similar to past years.

The student body is comparable in achievement to recent classes and yet far more diverse in terms of race, sex, and socioeconomic status. So, everyone should be happy, right?

Of course not.

This is a highly competitive system and those whose kids lost out think the game was rigged against them with the new rules.

The Coalition for TJ, a group of parents, students, alumni, staff, and community members opposed to the admissions changes, responded to the admissions announcement in a statement. The coalition believes the changes discriminated against Asian students and has an active federal lawsuit.

“We love Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and we congratulate every student accepted for admission into the TJ Class of 2025,” the coalition stated. “Fairfax County Public Schools has also broken the hearts of many deserving students by waging a crusade against Asian students at the school, first by proposing a random lottery and later by implementing the current race-balanced ‘holistic’ admissions system that amounts to social engineering.”

Now, rather obviously, there is no “crusade against Asian students” in Fairfax County. Still, a system where Asians fared disproportionately well in open competition was replaced with one in which Black, Hispanic, and disadvantaged students were pretty much guaranteed a large number of slots by virtue of school district lines. And that came at the expense of the Asian students.

This, though, is hysterical:

The coalition also denounced critical race theory, an academic concept studying how racism can be found in various public policies. Opponents see it as a wedge that pits people of color against white people, according to Education Week.

Aside from glomming on to a Trump/Fox News talking point, the kerfuffle demonstrates a central tenet of critical theory quite nicely: rules don’t have to be intentionally racist to have racial impacts.

The old system was ostensibly race-neutral but worked to the advantage of white and, especially, Asian students. Presumably, given that the folks drawing up the rules were predominantly white, they weren’t trying to give Asians a leg up. But a seemingly modest admission fee screened out most low-income students, who were disproportionately Black and Hispanic. And a standardized test, also designed to be race-neutral, is almost invariably going to be easier for students from families and communities that are more affluent and educated. [And, as @Mikey notes in the comments, more likely to be able to spring for expensive test prep services.]

The new system is ostensibly race-neutral but, because of structural racism in the funding and distribution of our schools, was intentionally anything but. Because we fund our schools with local tax dollars and send students to middle schools near their communities, Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students are concentrated in lower-ranked schools. Those schools have trouble attracting and retaining the best teachers. They have far less extra money flowing in from the PTA. And parents are less likely to be able to help their kids with schoolwork, much less constantly drive them to various application-enriching extracurriculars. Braband leveraged that structural racism into a virtual racial quota system.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Education, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. D Pan says:

    I kind of have skin in this game. Both my sons graduated from TJ. I graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in NYC, which is one of the three high schools in the city (along with Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech) which has the similar entrance by exam. This new system is the same system that was proposed by NYC school chancellor, to allocate seats to each junior high school. Now that the system is in place, I see the following happen: Asian Parents of future classes of eligible candidates will move their families to those previously underperforming middle school districts and take up the top academic spots, so that in about 5-10 years the demographics of those students will look about the same as it had been before the changes. Up until now, those families sought out schools that had high percentage of students represented in each incoming class. These feeder schools were well known, and you see where the Asian families were moving in Fairfax County. Now they will spread out to all the previously undesirable schools to take up the top spots.

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  2. Mikey says:

    But seemingly modest admission fee screened out most low-income students, who were disproportionately Black and Hispanic.

    It was more than just the application fee, the more affluent families would pay thousands of dollars for test prep services for the admissions test.

    9
  3. James Joyner says:

    @D Pan:

    These feeder schools were well known, and you see where the Asian families were moving in Fairfax County. Now they will spread out to all the previously undesirable schools to take up the top spots.

    That occurred to me as well. That would eventually circumvent this system. But it would also radically transform neighborhoods in a positive way.

    12
  4. Chris says:

    No system for awarding entry into a limited opportunity is going to be perfect. However, taking those few that ascended to the top of their educational situations, or won with the hands they were dealt, seems more than reasonable.

    12
  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’m sure this is a very good school, but we have a completely disfunctional idea of what a “best” high school is. Is it really an indication of the quality of the school that it can take the top 0.1% of performers and not completely screw them up? Shouldn’t we be paying a heck of a lot more attention to schools who can elevate their students? I mean, if a school can take a bunch of 50 percentile students and graduate them as 70 percentile students, isn’t that institution performing far, far better as a school?

    22
  6. Mimai says:

    @Mikey:

    The standardized test prep disparity is real. For SAT/ACT, the prep isn’t quite as effective as is often implied. IIRC, about 20 points on the SAT. This doesn’t deny the disparity, rather it specifies it.

    I know little of this particular system. What kind of standardized test do (did) they use? Do you know of any data on the effectiveness of test prep for it?

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Brabrand hailed the demographics of the Class of 2025 as proof that his admissions revisions worked

    Of course they did. The school made it easier to get admitted. This is not rocket science.

    That having been said, I will never, for the life of me, understand why the go to solution is always compromising admissions standards rather than finding better ways to help the disadvantaged kids who are capable of doing so meet those standards. It’s a race to the bottom.

    7
  8. @MarkedMan:

    Is it really an indication of the quality of the school that it can take the top 0.1% of performers and not completely screw them up?

    You raise a really important point. Anyone who has taught for any length of time should understand that teaching smart and prepared kids is easy.

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  9. @HarvardLaw92:

    compromising admissions standards…It’s a race to the bottom.

    I understand where you are coming from. But I think it is worth asking whether any set of standards is actually the appropriate standard. And also to ask what a given standard is measuring. If part of what a standard is measuring is actually socio-economic status, then that needs to be taken into account when constructing the overall system.

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  10. @James:

    Braband leveraged that structural racism into a virtual racial quota system.

    But that is only true if the schools (and neighborhoods, therefore) aren’t de facto segregated (which, of course, they are and is part of the underlying problem).

    7
  11. D Pan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yes, teaching smart kids is easy. But how to keep them motivated and push them to the maximum extent of their intellectual and mental capability is not. I can say that with two graduates of this school, their four years in high school were much harder than their four years of undergraduate college. They breezed through them easily because of the excellent preparation their high school provided.

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  12. @D Pan:

    But how to keep them motivated and push them to the maximum extent of their intellectual and mental capability is not.

    But even that is a function, in large measure, to the internal drive of the students and the influence of parents.

    Trust me, I am not saying that teachers and professors (and the quality of schools) don’t matter, but as both an educator of 25ish years and as a parent of three, it is clear that if you put the best students into a single school the variable of most significance in terms of the outcomes from that schools will be the students, not the curriculum and not the faculty (but, most clearly, not the only variable).

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  13. steve says:

    ” finding better ways to help the disadvantaged kids who are capable of doing so meet those standards. ”

    That would probably mean providing them better elementary and middle schools, access to tutoring and test prep, foreign travel experiences, unlimited budgets for books and access to the libraries of better schools, not having to work part-time to help supplement the household income, piano/violin lessons and other stuff I am sure I am forgetting. IOW, replicate the experiences of the kids who do get admitted. Would be a lot of work and cost a lot.

    Steve

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  14. @Steven L. Taylor: Put another way, and what I was agreeing with above: if you create a system wherein the best students in a given geographic area are filtered out and sent to a specific school, that school will be the best school. By definition the best students will lead to the best outcomes.

    The Montgomery, AL, where I live and where my three sons went to school, has a highly problematic school system (to put it mildly). Yet, it also has one of the top high schools in the United States (LAMP magnet HS). It manages this by pretty much filtered the best students in the county over years in the magnet system (which is not especially well funded, btw) until the best of the best are in that school.

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  15. @Steven L. Taylor: In fact, I was having a conversation about this very subject with a representative from the Alabama Commission of Higher Education who was visiting our campus this week as we discussed math readiness of Alabama HS graduates.

    2
  16. Mikey says:

    @Mimai:

    I know little of this particular system. What kind of standardized test do (did) they use? Do you know of any data on the effectiveness of test prep for it?

    For admission to TJ there was a specific test. I don’t know how effective the test prep was, but this area can be stupid in its competitiveness so some parents paid big bucks anyway.

    There’s more background on this that people outside the area may not know. FCPS has a parallel track that runs from third grade through the end of middle school, called the Advanced Academic Program (AAP). Second-graders are tested for admission to AAP using standardized tests–and yes, parents will pay big bucks for test prep for those, too. For second-graders. That’s the kind of place Fairfax County is.

    Anyway, AAP kids have been hugely overrepresented at TJ, but kids from the less-privileged areas have been hugely underrepresented in AAP. So the disparities don’t just begin with the TJ admissions process, they go back to second grade.

    10
  17. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’d like to see an objective comparison between standards to determine which is “higher.”

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  18. D Pan says:

    @Mikey:

    The TJ demographic seems to be self-selecting. Those who are obsessed about getting their kids into the school will do anything to achieve that goal. This is about 5% of the FCPS population. The other 95% either don’t care or are not interested. The funny thing is that all the smart bright kids who don’t get into TJ actually have the same, or even better chance of getting into a top university, or even the state flagship university (UVA) than TJ grads. In the end, it all evens out.

    2
  19. @D Pan:

    The TJ demographic seems to be self-selecting. Those who are obsessed about getting their kids into the school will do anything to achieve that goal.

    This is a similar dynamic for the magnet schools in MPS. But, of course, part of what that proves is that parental involvement (and parental resources, even it is just time) is part of this equation.

    In the end, it all evens out.

    That’s the question, though, does it? And it is not so clear that it does.

    2
  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kathy:

    It seems to me that the test they had in place was a nice, objective standard. Somehow I’m supposed to believe that these students that have now been brought into the mix could manage top level GPA’s (judging by the de minimis drop their inclusion caused in the overall admissions GPA), but they’re somehow unable to navigate an admissions exam, to the point where that exam had to be eliminated in order to get them through the door?

    Something in Denmark doesn’t add up …

    2
  21. D Pan says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That’s the $64,000 question. Will there by complaints that the curriculum is too difficult or biased against these students in a few years. Will they require remedial preparation to be competitive with the rest of the student body? Will they demand the pace of the curriculum (it’s very demanding, believe me) be slowed down to accommodate those who need it to catch up?

    4
  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If part of what a standard is measuring is actually socio-economic status, then that needs to be taken into account when constructing the overall system.

    Yah, I’ll be completely honest in saying that I consider that assertion to be a paternalistic excuse for cultural shortcomings, and I do not buy it. At all.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan:

    …if a school can take a bunch of 50 percentile students and graduate them as 70 percentile students, isn’t that institution performing far, far better as a school?

    Well. yes and no. On the one side, it benefits the students; on the other side, it may blow a big gaping hole in how we understand the workings of our purportedly “meritocratic” schools. In the largest scale picture, it may well be a detriment because those students will lose their sense of place in a society where, according to a recent article in The Atlantic, parents of children going to prestigious schools are already finding there are not enough slots for all the elites we currently have.

    The students from the school that raised them from 50s to 70s (and correspondingly might well have raised the 70s to 90s or even 99+s) may decide that they have higher goals and expectations for their futures now that they can look out of the hole. And then, who will work in the Amazon fulfillment centers and drive the Prime delivery trucks? It’s already hard enough for Bezos to keep staff in the places as it is.

    5
  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    When I was in the 9th grade I had a Psych teacher administer an IQ test to the class. I finished it 15 mins early and got a perfect score on it. The test measured a maximum IQ of 135, and was filled with questions with obvious answers (of course how quickly one was able to answer a question played a part). One question I remember was, “Which side of the faucet do you turn on for hot water?” The left, of course. But I had been in houses where that wasn’t true because somebody screwed up the piping.

    After the test I thought about all the questions and realized most of them were of that type, based on a norm that wasn’t everybody’s norm and concluded the whole thing was a farce.

    We all live in the United States of America but we don’t all share in the same culture. Admissions tests need to take that into account.

    14
  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @D Pan:

    I have absolute confidence that the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes, which will result in further tweaking until the desired paper outcome is achieved.

    The problem with beginning from the position of trying to equalize outcome is that it presupposes that all of the inputs are otherwise equal, and will drift to an equalized norm if placed in the same beaker, which is a fallacy that results in endless re-resetting of the goal posts because those pushing it do not want to consider the disturbing possibility that their feel-good premise is flawed. We’ve seen this movie before.

    1
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha. I KNEW that if there was anyone who would be able to reinforce the arguments for the false meritocracy we currently have, it would be you. Thanks! I had a rough day yesterday and needed a laugh!

    14
  27. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The students from the school that raised them from 50s to 70s (and correspondingly might well have raised the 70s to 90s or even 99+s) may decide that they have higher goals and expectations for their futures now that they can look out of the hole. And then, who will work in the Amazon fulfillment centers and drive the Prime delivery trucks? It’s already hard enough for Bezos to keep staff in the places as it is.

    Even though I already read a book about Amazon, reading the new one (Amazon Unbound) is still shocking about how abusive that company is. For instance, at the warehouses, based on Bezos’s idea that people get lazy if they work somewhere too long, the system is designed to get people not to stay longer than three years, for instance by disqualifying employees for raises after three years. Firing employees for *one day* of low productivity. Etc. Cruelty is built into the system. Jeff Bezos is a very high IQ, very shitty person. Earlier this year you finally started seeing news stories that Amazon is beginning to have hiring problems. You can only abuse people for so long.

    3
  28. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It seems to me that the test they had in place was a nice, objective standard.

    What’s the evidence for that?

    8
  29. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: reading the biographies of the richest people in the world will disabuse one from that idea.

  30. Teve says:

    Earlier this week I saw an idiot on Facebook say “you just want to tax the rich because you hate success. Jeff Bezos started his company in his garage!”

    Jeff Bezos bought a house with a garage so he could get that Silicon Valley garage company vibe à la Hewlett Packard, Apple, etc. He actually started his company with a $300,000 loan from his parents and a bunch of Wall Street connections from having worked at a hedge fund.

    13
  31. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But that is only true if the schools (and neighborhoods, therefore) aren’t de facto segregated (which, of course, they are and is part of the underlying problem).

    Yes, that was precisely my point. Our public schools de facto segregate by race and socio-economic status by being community-based and then we exacerbate that problem by funding them locally as well, meaning the kids from “better” neighborhoods not only have a head start but are then given additional advantages. Braband’s system leveraged that to diversify TJ selection.

    7
  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kathy:

    You mean besides “everybody took the same one”?

    3
  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’ll take that failure to actually advance an argument for what it’s worth

    5
  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Teve:

    He actually started his company with a $300,000 loan from his parents and a bunch of Wall Street connections from having worked at a hedge fund.

    His step-dad / adoptive father is a first- generation Cuban immigrant who arrived in the US as a child. Mother got pregnant at 17 while still in high school. Remind me how they managed to be able to raise that $300k again?

    2
  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    Dropping the standardized admissions test, though, removes a means of fairly comparing students from very different schools.

    How well did standardized admission test scores when applying to the school correlate with eventual student success at graduation? Did higher scoring students tend to do better at the school, or was it a case where once passing a certain minimal threshold success was independent of incoming test scores?

    If the later, is the test actually a fair way of comparing students from different schools?

  36. @HarvardLaw92:

    Yah, I’ll be completely honest in saying that I consider that assertion to be a paternalistic excuse for cultural shortcomings, and I do not buy it. At all.

    That’s fine.

    But you are in utter denial to take that position about how quite clearly socio-economic status plays into these things.

    11
  37. @James Joyner: FYI: my intention was to underscore that (not sure it came across that way).

    1
  38. @HarvardLaw92:

    You mean besides “everybody took the same one”?

    Is your position, then, that giving everyone the same assessment means that the assessment is unbiaed? Or, more importantly, that it necessarily measures what you think it measures?

    10
  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    STEMies do love their numbers. My number is higher than your number! You only have a 9.56 and I have a 9.57, ah hah hah hah, I’m better!

    Has anyone walked back the histories of our Nobel prize winners to see whether they come from the most elite high schools and universities? How about our Pulitzer winners? Grammy winners? I mean, do we have proof that a highly competitive high school does anything concrete beyond ensuring access to the next level of credentialing?

    Come on, STEM-folk, you must be able to draw a line between AP classes and major accomplishments. I assume. Right? I mean, obviously Beyoncé will have come from an elite high school, and, oh let’s say Stephen King, and Joe Biden and Warren Buffet, right? I’m sure it will be child’s play to demonstrate that hard-working 16 year-old grinds occupy most of the top spots in society’s various hierarchies.

    It’s not like this is just a desperate chase to capture meaningless trophies, right?

    9
  40. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That’s only evidence that everyone took the same test, not that the standards of the test were “high.”

    And what @Steven L. Taylor: asked.

    4
  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And yet entire demographics overcome these so called socioeconomic barriers every day, without assistance. Are we to suppose that Asian kids are all just smarter than everybody else? Obviously a ludicrous proposition, yet they consistently occupy the top slots wherever they land, so maybe we need to consider the possibility that something else is responsible for that. Their culture values, if not demands, academic achievement and their parents reinforce those cultural goal posts. I well understand because my culture is the same or worse. Other cultures don’t place the same level of emphasis, or indeed any emphasis, on it. A few actively demean and discourage it.

    All the tweaking and fingers on scales in the world will not – indeed can not overcome that basic fact. You cannot force a culture to value academic achievement, and you can not create a work ethic by waving a magic wand.

    I remain convinced this is more about assuaging liberal angst and providing a balm for liberal guilt than it is about equalizing anything.

    5
  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’m wondering why, if they’re supposedly so smart, they couldn’t pass it / it had to be eliminated to get them in the door. D Pan is being prophetic and will likely be proved correct – it will not be long before the choruses of “disadvantaged! Bias!” and all of the other caca used to excuse failure start popping up at TJ. The admission standards fell first. The academic standards will follow just as surely as night follows day.

    As I said, something in Denmark doesn’t add up.

    4
  43. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But you are in utter denial to take that position about how quite clearly socio-economic status plays into these things.

    You’re surprised the guy who openly called for genocide in Baltimore isn’t sensitive to issues of inequality in our society?

    10
  44. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I suspect the dude is elderly, because that’s where you still find atavistic racism, mostly.

    3
  45. D Pan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Well, here’s one data point:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bronx_High_School_of_Science_alumni

    Eight Nobel laureates from a school that’s 83 years old is not bad. And that most of its students and graduates came from lower and middle income families.

  46. Mimai says:

    Thanks for the additional info. I have special loathing for tracking kids in elementary school.

    I’m really curious about this test, particularly the psychometrics. For all their faults, the SAT, ACT, and GRE have been put through the psychometric ringer. We have good data on their reliability and (perhaps most importantly) predictive validity.

    I’ve yet to see any info on the psychometrics of this admissions test. It’s difficult to assess the wisdom of their dropping it without knowing such things. I’m sure the school system has the data.

  47. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Ooof! This was a really shitty test. And not at all similar to bona fide tests of cognitive ability (ie, IQ tests). Regardless, it’s unethical for such a teacher to administer it in that setting.

    ps, None of this is to question your genius 🙂

  48. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That having been said, I will never, for the life of me, understand why the go to solution is always compromising admissions standards rather than finding better ways to help the disadvantaged kids who are capable of doing so meet those standards. It’s a race to the bottom.

    You’re assuming that anyone who wouldn’t have won one of the spots through the previous plan wouldn’t be qualified. That’s not a safe assumption.

    If there are 5,000 kids who are perfectly capable of doing well in this school, and 500 slots, how should those slots be allocated? Should they be stack ranked through a test that kids from wealthier families will be able to afford test prep for? Should it be a lottery? Allocated by area feeding into the school?

    You can select from that group in lots of ways without compromising standards.

    If there are 10,000 applicants, the stack ranking through the test would do a very good job of ensuring that each of the 500 kids given a chance are from that 5,000 qualified kids. The new approach might not do as good of a job.

    We will find out in a year or so whether they were compromising important standards, or just selecting a different set of kids from the qualified kids.

    It doesn’t do anyone any favors to give them an opportunity they are not capable of succeeding at, so I’m not entirely dismissive of your concerns. But, we don’t know that this is what is happening yet.

    And then we would have the awkward conversation of trying to decide how many wasted slots (slots given to kids who cannot succeed) is too many. An opportunity given to someone who is disadvantaged is going to have a greater impact than the same opportunity given to a rich kid (the rich kid is going to be fine either way), so the number of slots that can be wasted and still have this be a good thing is greater than 0.

    5
  49. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    STEMies do love their numbers. My number is higher than your number! You only have a 9.56 and I have a 9.57, ah hah hah hah, I’m better!

    Has anyone walked back the histories of our Nobel prize winners to see whether they come from the most elite high schools and universities? How about our Pulitzer winners? Grammy winners? I mean, do we have proof that a highly competitive high school does anything concrete beyond ensuring access to the next level of credentialing?

    Actually, yeah. The 10 most Nobel Prize winners by university are Harvard, Cambridge, UC Berkeley, U Chicago, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, CalTech, Oxford, and Princeton.

    But Harvard also gave us Jared Kushner, Ted Kaczynski, and George W. Bush, so credentials alone don’t tell the full picture. Scott Galloway will tell you that his years as an entrepreneur taught him that people who flaunt their credentials are insecure.

    Anyway, there’s a reason we STEMmies like numbers. If you ask people, for instance, if crime is high they’ll tell you it’s outrageous, the worst it’s ever been. And these kids nowadays—they can’t even count change back to you! But if you look at the data, you see that both these beliefs are full of shit. Moneyball shows you that data >> opinion.

    3
  50. JKB says:

    @James Joyner: meaning the kids from “better” neighborhoods not only have a head start but are then given additional advantages.

    As the Coleman Report identified 55 years ago, the problem is family background. So the problem, at least for the advantages of your children and step-children is you James. Not that you purchased a home in a nice neighborhood, although that helps, but that your children had access to you. When they have trouble writing a paper, they get immediate, in-person help from someone who writes academic papers professionally and, apparently, enjoys the task. Other kids from well-to-do neighborhoods enjoy similar benefits, and then in their school, since such skills are prized, they share them among their peers. This is was confirmed again in recent research presented as part of the 50th anniversary symposium of the Coleman Report.

    This paper investigates the effects of family background, expenditures, and the conditions of school facilities for the public high school class of 2004, first sampled in 2002 for the Education Longitudinal Study and then followed up in 2004, 2006, and 2012. The results demonstrate that expenditures and related school inputs have very weak associations not only with test scores in the sophomore and senior years of high school but also with high school graduation and subsequent college entry. Only for postsecondary educational attainment do we find any meaningful predictive power for expenditures, and here half of the association can be adjusted away by school-level differences in average family background. Altogether, expenditures and facilities have much smaller associations with secondary and postsecondary outcomes than many scholars and policy advocates assume. The overall conclusion of the Coleman Report—that family background is far and away the most important determinant of educational achievement and attainment—is as convincing today as it was fifty years ago.

    So, the real question is, how many of these newly admitted students will become part of the peer-group mixing since they already are deficient in family environment advantages. Or will this simply damage top disadvantaged students by dropping them into an environment for which they aren’t prepared. As such they will be inculcated with a sense of being deficient when at a less rigorous school they would have been top of class. Thomas Sowell has commented on this damage done to disadvantaged students admitted to Harvard, et al, who were unprepared for the pace of those schools but would have done well at a school with a slower pace. If a student gets into this TJ school without the equitable writing or math ability, they will be behind with little chance to catch up due to the pace of the teaching.

    2
  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m not assuming anything. If they were legitimately qualified, a good sized proportion of them would already have managed to gain admittance. I suspect that we will find, when all is said and done, that their grades are a farce utilized to avoid the consequences (to schools) of underperformance. Time will tell, but as I said, we’ve seen this movie before.

    I’m just tired – literally weary – of people pandering to and making excuses for failure.

    1
  52. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Has anyone walked back the histories of our Nobel prize winners to see whether they come from the most elite high schools and universities? How about our Pulitzer winners? Grammy winners? I mean, do we have proof that a highly competitive high school does anything concrete beyond ensuring access to the next level of credentialing?

    I would think that middle-class life would be the next level of credentialing, not a Nobel prize. You’re skipping a few rungs on the ladder of success.

    The gifted schools are geared more towards creating upper-tier mediocrity rather than exceptional outcomes (upper-middle-class professional, rather than Nobel prize). Some exceptional people will go through anyway and become exceptional, but by and large, not the goal.

    3
  53. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m not assuming anything.

    You’re very clearly assuming the admissions test was the best way to select the best candidates for admission, and you apparently expect the rest us to accept that assumption without question.

    8
  54. CtheDog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Of course they did. The school made it easier to get admitted. This is not rocket science.

    The school made it easier to get qualify by reducing the hoops that need to be jumped through. Only time will tell whether that has the effect of reducing the caliber of the student body.

    3
  55. CtheDog says:

    @CtheDog: *”to qualify” Ignore the “get”. Is it not possible to edit a comment?

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Not for nothing, but Buffett attended Wharton, graduated from Columbia and did time at NYIF.

  57. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    STEMies do love their numbers. My number is higher than your number!

    Don’t we all though:

    “Michael’s life is a rich source for his torrential narratives. Growing up in a military family he’s lived in almost 50 different homes in 14 US states, and moved in with his wife, Katherine Applegate, after knowing her less than 24 hours. Michael and Katherine were running their own cleaning business when they were working on their first book. Since trading in his marigolds, Michael has now written around 150 books (with Katherine, as himself, under pseudonyms and as a ghostwriter).” [source]

    I do agree that we have fetishized credentials almost to the point of absurdity.

    1
  58. Mimai says:

    @Mikey:

    Argh, I replied to you but forgot to ping you. Here it is @Mimai:

    tl;dr: Thank you. I want psychometric data.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    You’re very clearly assuming the admissions test was the best way to select the best candidates for admission, and you apparently expect the rest us to accept that assumption without question

    I’m not assuming it. I’m stating it in concrete terms. Grading standards are variable, nevermore so than in this age of performance metrics where they are far too susceptible to being manipulated in pursuit of institutional survival.

    Let me be blunt – I do not favor preferences – for anyone. Period. I favor objective criteria equally applied to everyone, and those who just can’t compete – that’s too bad. No society in history has ever progressed by chasing, in deed celebrating mediocrity.

    I think were I and the commentariat diverge from each other is the concept of equity. They tend to want to pursue equity of outcome. I prefer equity of opportunity.

    If these kids succeed, about which I have my doubts but let’s assume – all well and good. They’ll forever have the stigma of “weren’t good enough / had to have the scales tilted to get in” hanging over their head, but hopefully some of them will overcome it and prosper.

    The more likely outcome, IMO, is that we are going to discover that these kids were not, remotely, prepared for the rigors of this school and they’ll crash & burn in short order. While that should result in a good, long, hard look at their previous schools and how the kids managed to find themselves in that spot despite having top grades, it’ll more likely result in a cry for adjusting the program to their ability level (in which you actually drag the program down to the level of the lowest common-denominator for everyone). Everybody loses.

    3
  60. D Pan says:

    But this is just the bottom 90% fighting for the crumbs the top 10% left for the rest of us peasants. The rich can send their kids to private schools or New England boarding schools that feed directly into the Ivys.

    1
  61. @Stormy Dragon: I missed the Baltimore thing.

    However, while I am not particularly surprised by the basic position, it is a little stunning that there is this blanket assertion that just giving everyone the same test means that the results are pure and unbiased in every way as well as the utter lack of understanding that exams like these do end up measuring things other than pure academic achievement.

    5
  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    @D Pan:
    Counterpoint: successful people who didn’t even complete High School:

    Partial list:
    Richard Branson
    Aretha Franklin
    Philip Emeagwali
    Quentin Tarantino
    (Me)

    And there are some who dropped out of college:

    Henry Ford
    Bill Gates
    Mark Zuckerberg
    Larry Ellison
    Larry Page
    Steve Jobs

    OTOH, here are some worthless human beings with excellent educations:
    Josh Hawley
    Ted Cruz
    Donald Trump

    4
  63. Teve says:

    @D Pan: Nonsense! George W Bush and Jared Kushner were objectively the most qualified candidates available! 😀

    (There’s a reason ‘meritocracy’ began life as a pejorative)

    2
  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @D Pan:

    I think that stems from the erroneous presumption that graduation from an Ivy at the undergraduate level is inordinately beneficial. In reality, not so much.

    Graduate level? Absolutely. The difference between HLS and Grovers Corners School of Law is access to clerkships, access to top firms, and a lifetime earnings differential measured in 8 or 9 digits. That having been said, the 502 enrolled 1L’s in the current class originate from no less than 164 different universities, the vast majority of which are state institutions, not Ivy Undergrad. I’ll be the first to admit that the competition has gotten entirely out of control, but they’re competing for the wrong prize.

    1
  65. D Pan says:

    @Teve:
    See my point about the rich and private schools bypassing this issue entirely.

  66. D Pan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And you have to admit those are outliers. There is no way to emulate their path to success.

    1
  67. Teve says:

    IIRC there was a story a few months or years ago that found that 40 to 50% of white people at Ivy League undergrads were admitted as legacies or sports or relatives of faculty.

    Steve Ballmer did his undergrad at Harvard and his tenure at Microsoft almost bankrupted the company with incredibly idiotic ideas like stack ranking.

    1
  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    the utter lack of understanding that exams like these do end up measuring things other than pure academic achievement.

    I can see that I am not speaking clearly, professor. I completely understand the premise. I also completely, 100%, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, consider it to be bullshit. It’s one of the many ways in which people who can’t deal with the world being unfair joust at windmills trying to make it so.

    1
  69. @HarvardLaw92:

    I favor objective criteria equally applied to everyone, and those who just can’t compete – that’s too bad. No society in history has ever progressed by chasing, in deed celebrating mediocrity.

    This is the crux of the conversation. You are making the assumption that standardized tests are utterly objective. They aren’t (really, few if any are).

    Also: I am not sure that anyone in this thread is asking for the “celebrating [of] mediocrity.”

    The question is: do standards that clearly advantage some over others be the ones we should use.

    Now, if your view is that Black and Hispanic neighborhoods only produce mediocrity, well that’s its own discussion. The question still would obtain as to why?

    5
  70. @HarvardLaw92:

    I completely understand the premise. I also completely, 100%, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, consider it to be bullshit.

    Awesome!

    You’re wrong.

    11
  71. Teve says:

    The fact that Jack Welch, Steve Ballmer, and Jeff Bezos did some form of stack ranking just reinforces to me that successful people are way luckier than they imagine*. If you told me that global corporations use that for personnel decisions, I wouldn’t have believed that successful entities could make such a phenomenally stupid basic statistics mistake.

    * which is why you don’t read business books written by blinkered egomaniacal businesspeople, you read business books written by journalists.

    2
  72. drj says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I prefer equity of opportunity.

    Except that you don’t.

    Anyone who has taken a fair number of standardized tests – and especially if one has done well – should have no trouble recognizing that what these tests mostly measure is how experienced students are in solving certain kinds of fairly predictable problems.

    But is that really what we want to know when it comes to academic admissisions, how often a student has practiced solving a particular kind of test question that has pretty much zero real-life applicability?

    Is that an equitable approach when test prep can simply be bought by rich parents?

    I assume you did very well on your LSAT, so perhaps you have a certain interest in pretending that standardized tests are particularly useful in measuring academic potential.

    While I’m not certainly not saying that these kinds of tests are wholly useless, they may be far less meaningful than, maybe, you would like to think.

    4
  73. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    47 years after you started busing, nothing has changed. If anything, it has gotten worse. By all means, though, keep chasing the wrong dragon despite decades of liberal failure. I imagine it certainly feels good, and if we’re honest about it, that’s really at basis what all of this is about, isn’t it. 🙂

    2
  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’ll concede that I’m not trying to advance and argument. I’ve given up on trying to persuade holders of true faiths of all sorts. I really WAS just thanking you for making me laugh and noting that someone was going to advance the “race to the bottom” canard. Again, thanks for the laugh.

    3
  75. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yep. in my younger days I was a tutor for SAT/ACT/FCAT/MCAT/LSAT etc. A lot of test-taking skills are strategies, not knowledge evaluations.

    7
  76. Teve says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    47 years after you started busing, nothing has changed

    This is just old man gibberish. I’m starting to think Harvard law 92 is a Yale graduate who is trying to humiliate his rival. 😀

    11
  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No, they can’t. It’s how they measure the fact the they are better and more deserving that “the others.”

    3
  78. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Let me be blunt – I do not favor preferences – for anyone. Period. I favor objective criteria equally applied to everyone, and those who just can’t compete – that’s too bad.

    Let me be blunt: the notion of ‘objective criteria’ applied to human talent, abilities and accomplishment is nonsense. The choice of what to test and how is inevitably subjective. There is no objectivity when humans are in the frame.

    You’re valuing a system that worked for you. I value a system that worked for me. Two very different systems, no? And yet here we are, two successful guys. Averaging it between us my wife and I have half a liberal arts degree from the University of Texas (itself, half a university) but we’ve made a high six figure (and not infrequently seven figure) income for 30 years in a field which statistically is far harder to succeed at than the law.

    I work three hours a day, sitting in sweats with my feet up on my fire pit – pausing to light my cigar, puff, puff – gazing out over my pool at the Hollywood sign.

    9
  79. @HarvardLaw92: You are changing the subject as it pertains to standarized tests.

    And providing diversified access to a magnet school isn’t busing (or if it is in Montgomery, it is busing white kids into a predominantly Black neighborhood, because that is where the school is–I can’t say about TJ).

    And I have never written a single word about bussing here to my recollection, but FWIW, they stopped bussing around here a few decades ago, so the notion that that proves much of anything is pointless.

    What any of this has to do with whether standardized tests are objective, I cannot say.

    1
  80. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    While I’m not certainly not saying that these kinds of tests are wholly useless, they may be far less meaningful than, maybe, you would like to think.

    I’m not saying that they are perfect. I am saying that they are about the most objective form of evaluation that we have, therefore I prefer them. There is nothing better for the purposes of evaluating ability than forcing someone to demonstrate that ability, in a controlled setting, on the exact same terms as everyone else. If there are problems with them (and I know this is going out on a limb here), then address those problems and make them better. Don’t upend the whole thing in pursuit of equal outcomes. Fix the skew in opportunity.

    They are far preferable to grades (which anybody with a pulse knows are far too objective even within individual schools, much less across different schools within a district or different districts. And since it got mentioned above, do away with legacy admissions as well.

  81. @Michael Reynolds:

    the University of Texas (itself, half a university)

    Hey, now! Let’s be nice 😉

    2
  82. @JKB: So, you are saying parental background influences te prospects of children?

    What variables in public policy in the United States might have influenced those outcomes? Hmm. I am having a hard time…

    No doubt all those parents had equal chances that some squandered and others didn’t, and that explains all the variation, right?

    6
  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “If there are 5,000 kids who are perfectly capable of doing well in this school, and 500 slots, how should those slots be allocated?”

    The market would say “sell them.” They are a scarce resource and selling is a traditional method for distributing scarce resources. (And I’m sure that most school financial officers will agree as to being the best way, so win/win! 😀 )

    2
  84. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: None of this is to question your genius

    Speaking as one genius to another, of course not. 🙂

    1
  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    LOL, you aren’t “providing diversified access”. You are compromising admissions standards to achieve the mix that you prefer.

    And you are missing the broader point – you guys have spent decades trying to achieve the outcome that you prefer by constantly tilting the playing field, and the outcome of that by any objective evaluation has to be termed an unmitigated failure. This will undoubtedly prove (when these kids fail, as they’re pretty likely to do) to be yet another example of that. You’re trying to make the outcome of the world fair, you’ve failed at doing so literally forever, a 5 year old child could explain to you why that is a losing proposition, but you seem to think that if you just keep tweaking variable B instead of variable A, *pouf* magic.

    It’s as boneheaded and utopian as the conservative fools who keep trying supply side economics despite decades of utter failure. You both refuse to consider that you might be wrong, or attacking the wrong problem.

    2
  86. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    He was being charitable.

  87. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: fun fact: the University of Texas made Nobel laureate Stephen Weinberg an offer, and he accepted with one stipulation: that they pay him as much as they pay the football coach. He is now a very rich man.

    1
  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher:

    The gifted schools are geared more towards creating upper-tier mediocrity rather than exceptional outcomes (upper-middle-class professional, rather than Nobel prize). Some exceptional people will go through anyway and become exceptional, but by and large, not the goal.

    This point is far more important than most of us realize. There’s a lot to unpack there. Good observation!

    3
  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CtheDog: Editing is a random function. I got an edit to make a punctuation and spelling correction, but I didn’t get one for the second. Some people are saying that you have to post before noon Eastern Time, but I haven’t been following that.

  90. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Now, if your view is that Black and Hispanic neighborhoods only produce mediocrity, well that’s its own disucsison. The question still would obtain as to why?

    Interestingly, the only racial demographic I have mentioned in this thread, at all, was Asian, and even then only as an example of achievement and excellence. I’d proffer that Asians succeeded in spite of efforts like these, not because of them. They simply got down to the business of work, and succeeded. They didn’t need you to help them because they were already pretty busy helping themselves.

    I mentioned, and focused on, culture, which is the root of the problem and which all of your feel good measures don’t begin to address or frankly even consider. If a culture – any culture – doesn’t value, or actively demeans, academic achievement, there isn’t a single thing your feel good fairy dust will do to change that. Indeed, it’s almost heresy for the “nothing bad that happens to you is ever your fault or the consequence of your own choices as long as you’re a minority left to even entertain the thought.

    Which is why nothing changes, and nothing ever will.

    2
  91. gVOR08 says:

    Seems like I’ve heard this argument before, The Bell Curve redux.

    6
  92. Michael Reynolds says:

    @D Pan:

    And you have to admit those are outliers. There is no way to emulate their path to success.

    Indeed, outliers. So are the residents of New York City who feed into the Bronx School, an unusual subset of the overall US population. Let’s sing! If you can make it there, you’ll make it . . . anywhere! The smart kids from a population that is more motivated and successful in a more competitive environment do well when compared to the smart kids of goobers in Johnson City, TN? You don’t say.

    Do you have a way to prove that their success is the result of their education, rather than their educational attainment merely being the result of a high IQ? What percentage of those successful Bronx kids might have been just as successful – or even more successful – had they not attended the Bronx school?* Post Hoc does not prove propter hoc, and all that.

    As noted by several people above, standardized tests tend to measure general IQ, experience at test-taking, and confidence. After quitting HS one day into 11th grade, with my last math grade being a D in Geometry (should have been an F, but the teacher was scared) I went on to pop (IIRC) an 85th percentile on the math SAT. I don’t know how to multiply fractions. I do know how to take tests. Less surprising would be the 99th percentile in English despite the fact that to this day, after having written 150 books, I still don’t know WTF a participle is.

    *Personal experience? Had I stayed in school I’d be far less successful now.

    3
  93. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Premium mediocre!

    Premium mediocre is the finest bottle of wine at Olive Garden. Premium mediocre is cupcakes and froyo. Premium mediocre is “truffle” oil on anything (no actual truffles are harmed in the making of “truffle” oil), and extra-leg-room seats in Economy. Premium mediocre is cruise ships, artisan pizza, Game of Thrones, and The Bellagio.

    There’s more here. Funny. And spot-on.

    1
  94. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If we were administering tests to determine one’s ability to be a novelist, I’d certainly agree with you.

    But we aren’t.

    1
  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @D Pan: I’d be more inclined to say it’s the next 39.9% fighting for the crumbs left on the table by the top o.1%, myself. It seems to me that what’s setting people off is that people from the bottom 60% are being invited to try for some of the crumbs, but if I’m misrepresenting your viewpoint, please forgive me.

    2
  96. Teve says:

    IQ is particularly weird. Chris Langans has a huge IQ, and spends all of his time on a lunatic project called the Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe which has no adherents in the physics community. William James Sidis was an extraordinary phenom who could learn a language in a day and wound up a weirdo trainspotter. Kurt Godel more or less starved himself to death because he thought his wife was trying to poison him. IQ matters a lot less than people think.

    4
  97. Mu Yixiao says:

    The issue I have with standardized testing for admission (or even significant evaluation) is that schools start “teaching to the test”. I saw it when I was subbing about 20 years ago. Quite often the answer to “Why do we need to learn this?” was “It’s on the SAT”.

    I think school applications should be utterly simplistic. Give every applicant a typewriter and a single piece of paper and ask one question: Why should we admit you? Stamp it with a number–zero identifying information.

    2
  98. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @Steven L. Taylor: As I noted earlier, I’ve given up on persuading holders of true faiths. You guys have captured why in a handful of comment/reply sequences.

    2
  99. Mimai says:

    @Teve:

    IQ matters a lot less than people think.

    And it also matters a lot more than people wish. (probably)

    2
  100. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    To which I reply: explain Shaker Heights … 🙂

    1
  101. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @drj: “Anyone who has taken a fair number of standardized tests – and especially if one has done well – should have no trouble recognizing that what these tests mostly measure is how experienced students are in solving certain kinds of fairly predictable problems.”

    Which is why, in Korea, the most successful cram school curricula consist of providing students with hundreds of sample questions from released prior versions of the various tests (a mistake by ETS, among others, if you ask me, but…) and encouraging students to memorize them. As a top scorer from Korea put it in an interview that I remember “[high-stakes test] is a game, the more you play it, the better you become.”

    3
  102. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If we were administering tests to determine one’s ability to be a novelist, I’d certainly agree with you.

    But we aren’t.

    No? I thought we were talking about success. If we’re not talking about real world success, what are we talking about? The ability to move up the credentialing ladder? To earn gold stars?

    See, that’s you applying purely subjective criteria. Is Sean (Puffy) Combs – Howard U drop out in sophomore year – less successful than you? I’m pretty sure Mr. Combs could buy us both with the spare change under his sofa cushions.

    What you’re valuing is conventional, plodding, replicable success. Again: a subjective choice.

    8
  103. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The issue I have with standardized testing for admission (or even significant evaluation) is that schools start “teaching to the test”. I saw it when I was subbing about 20 years ago. Quite often the answer to “Why do we need to learn this?” was “It’s on the SAT”.

    I won’t necessarily disagree, except to say that the SAT covers verbal and mathematical concepts. You’d like to think that those would be a fundamental part of any curriculum to begin with.

    I get what you are saying though, which is why if I had my way all standardized tests would be essay / written answer questions and only essay / written answer questions. If it’s math, then show your work or you get no credit.

    Fully half of the bar exam is brutal, written essay questions. 6 topics of law are covered, out of 12 possibilities, so you have to know all 12 backward and forward if you propose to prevail. The SAT

    (Note: if I had my way, the entire bar exam would be written essay questions as well).

    1
  104. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Actually, I think we were talking about success in the context of cultural values and work ethic. I’m pretty sure nobody would accuse Mr. Combs of not having a work ethic. 🙂

    1
  105. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: “…that they pay him as much as they pay the football coach. He is now a very rich man.”

    While I like that in theory, in practice that means that the school, in real terms this time (unless they found alumnus to perpetually make up the difference), they rerouted already relatively scarce state and university resources to create a second ridiculously expensive payroll outlay. Not a good look overall, but maybe the foundation has that kind of money, I dunno. 🙁

  106. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The SAT [is a joke in comparison].

    1
  107. @HarvardLaw92:

    Interestingly, the only racial demographic I have mentioned in this thread, at all, was Asian, and even then only as an example of achievement and excellence.

    This is disingenuous to the point of being a bad faith assertion. You brought up bussing but want to pretend like you haven’t made any references to racial demographics other than Asians. (Not to mention the broader context of the OP and the general discussion)

    I would note, too, that, in lot of your comments above (and not just with me) you are not attacking arguments you are attacking motives.

    The petty insults are also a great marker of intellectual achievement.

    Bravo.

    So, @Just nutha ignint cracker: Indeed.

    10
  108. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It happened back in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, when he went on an extended rant about how minorities were all just animals and how ungrateful they all are and we should just burn down all the minority parts of Baltimore.

    3
  109. @gVOR08: Yup.

    1
  110. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The UT system has a 31 billion dollar endowment. I’m sure they can afford buying a lilttle prestige.

    1
  111. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: oh, the whole thing is defective. I agree. I’m reading the Isaacson book about Michelangelo. Who gets rewarded and who gets overlooked is entirely about power and money.

    1
  112. senyordave says:

    @Teve: But Harvard also gave us Jared Kushner, Ted Kaczynski, and George W. Bush, so credentials alone don’t tell the full picture.
    Unfair to GWB to lump him in with Kushner and Kaczynski.
    Then it is unfair to Kaczynski to lump him in with Kushner.

    3
  113. @Stormy Dragon: Ah. How nice.

  114. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “I still don’t know WTF a participle is.” Fortunately, the test almost never asks you to identify them. And I know what a participle is–a word that ends in -ing for some reason that I’d have to look up because Einstein said to never remember things that you can look up.

    1
  115. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Yep. It’s a closed loop. Success is defined as passing a test. So skills necessary to passing a test are emphasized. The result is kids passing tests. And?

    Pass the HS tests and you go on to pass the University tests and then the law school or med school tests and by golly it’s irrefutable that people passing tests are good at passing tests. Then they get to spend their lives buried under stacks of legal precedents in real estate law, or slip into rubber gloves and probe anuses.

  116. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “we’ve abused this group of people for 400 years and now suddenly they’re not living up to our intellectual standards? They must just be stupid.”

    It’s just dumb lies people with money tell themselves to justify their money.

    5
  117. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    In your case, it’s more of an exercise in slaughtering sacred cows. You’ve sidestepped even considering the cultural argument put forth, either because you don’t like it or you don’t like where it will lead you, which in the end are the same thing. Same reply as the cracker: explain Shaker Heights …

    And I wouldn’t call it attacking motives. I’d call it attacking the basis of those motives – the assumptions and sacred cows they are built on. I have no doubt that these folks proceed from a place of charity and good will. That doesn’t equate to them also proceeding from a non-bullshit premise.

    2
  118. Teve says:

    And I know what a participle is–a word that ends in -ing for some reason that I’d have to look up because Einstein said to never remember things that you can look up.

    There are some famous examples of that in historical physics. And in my last two years of undergrad, you were allowed to bring in any printed material, spreadsheets, formulae, mathematical transformations, etc., because if you didn’t understand what was actually happening in quantum physics, those wouldn’t be any use for you anyway. The real world is open book.

    2
  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Good to know. I hope the foundation is putting up the money rather than the general budget.

  120. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Which is why, in Korea, the most successful cram school curricula consist of providing students with hundreds of sample questions from released prior versions of the various tests (a mistake by ETS, among others, if you ask me, but…) and encouraging students to memorize them.

    China’s even worse. They basically teach the answers. No explanations, no reasoning. This includes in areas like literature.

    Anecdote: I had the director of our HS division come over and ask if I could help out a student. She was attending an International School* and was tasked with interpreting a poem for a lit class.

    I sat down and had her read the first stanza. When I tried to get her to discuss what she thought, her only response was “Tell me what it means.” A HS student at a high-end school couldn’t read a poem and give a reaction on her own.

    ==========
    *International schools are run by western entities, are very costly, and very difficult for Chinese students to get into.

    2
  121. Teve says:

    And I want to preemptively roll my eyes at anybody who brings up the Feynman line about not understanding quantum physics.

  122. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Beats me. I had to look it up. I spend less time considering the University of Football than I do thinking about whether or not to clip my fingernails.

  123. Chip Daniels says:

    Things like this exemplify how not only the metrics themselves, but the choice of metrics are essentially arbitrary selection criteria intended to disguise the underlying subjective policy preferences.

    Asserting that some standardized test like the SAT should be used, only prompts the question of why, and the answer “because it measures problem solving skills” then prompts the question of why those skills are paramount, which then calls into question why we as a society support and encourage college.

    What do we as citizens want colleges to do for us as a nation, why do we offer them financial and legal support?

    Are they Darwinian filters for lucrative job training? Are they meant to be great equalizers, to block the growth of a self-perpetuating aristocracy?
    Is the curriculum meant to emphasize marketable skills? Pure research? Or to create a culture of political philosophy to groom the successive generations of leaders?

    These are all preferences, and the answers can all overlap. But none of them are obvious or incontestable, and handwaving about objective standards only camouflages the subjectivity.

    3
  124. @HarvardLaw92:

    In your case, it’s more of an exercise in slaughtering sacred cows.

    If you say so. I am not sure what sacred cow you think you have slaughtered apart from childish jabs at Longhorns. I think it is fair to say that you never really addressed my point about assessments but instead meandered onto bussing and culture.

    3
  125. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Hence my comment above about only written essay questions and demonstrated mathematical solutions on these exams. A year, at most two, of that and the whole crumbling edifice falls to the ground. Then we’re forced to examine 1) why and 2) what we do about it.

    1
  126. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’d encourage you, just in passing, to not be so flippant about people wanting to spend their lives “buried under stacks of legal precedents in real estate law, or slip[ped] into rubber gloves and probeing anuses.” Somebody has to do those jobs so that people like me don’t sell people like you property that we don’t actually own and recommend that you really really need a part of your colon removed.

    1
  127. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I understood your point about assessments. You want to wander off into some fantasy world where they’re written by white people, so minorities can’t understand them and as a result do poorly. That justifies your whole guilt driven quest to make the world fair. You want to be the protagonist in your own drama, but that requires a villain, so you’ve deputized one from the past in service of the continuing tripe of the present.

    I consider that to be offensive, patronizing bullshit. You’re telling these kids that 1) they’re excused from any sense of personal responsibility or accountability by the past and 2) that the system has to be tilted in their favor for them to have any chance at success.

    And then you wonder why they fail …

    1
  128. George says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You raise a really important point. Anyone who has taught for any length of time should understand that teaching smart and prepared kids is easy.

    Richard Feynman (anyone who hasn’t heard of him should look him up, one of the most important physicists of the 20th or any other century) said that the American high school system was the best in the world for intelligent, motivated children because it was so easy — it left them plenty of time to explore ideas and knowledge on their own without a lot of superfluous and repetitive homework assignments.

    That is, intelligent and motivated children don’t need teaching, just access to resources.

    Meanwhile, many Japanese scientists say their extremely competitive and work laden schools are detrimental to developing great scientists, as there is no time to nurture the curiosity and imagination great scientists need — they blame the lack of for instance Japanese Nobel Prize winners in science on their overly demanding and competitive school system.

    The takeaway is that, in the sciences at least, if your child is talented and motivated enough to go to a highly competitive high school then they’d actually be better off just going to a normal high school. And its interesting how many Nobel Prize winners in the sciences did their undergraduate degrees in very ordinary universities (though most went on to more prestigious ones for grad studies).

  129. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Teve:

    Off-topic fun: When I was in uni, several of us were swapping stories about loopholes in the “allowed references” that could be brought into tests. One prof had told his advanced chem students that they could bring in anything they could carry (this being way before Google or smart phones). One enterprising young man carried in… a grad student. 😀

    The Tech Director of our theatre told students that, for the final project, they could use any resource available to them–because when you’re building something, you can always look it up. He laughed that every year nobody used the best resource they could: Him.

    1
  130. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Oh, and the Longhorns don’t need any help from me to be considered a joke. Just saying …

  131. @HarvardLaw92:

    I understood your point about assessments.

    No, you didn’t.

    1
  132. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Here’s a thought for you to ponder: could it be that very high intelligence, just like very low intelligence, is a kind of mental defect?

    2
  133. @HarvardLaw92: Bad faith and insults.

    Bravo again. Yours is clearly the superior intellect.

    2
  134. Michael Reynolds says:

    I always pitied (sneered at) the little grinds desperate to get their A plusses. I called them ‘110’s.’ Ten percent smarter than average, wearing themselves out to get what I could get having glanced at the topic headings five minutes before the test.

    Here is the full list of notable graduates from my high school:

    Eddie Berlin, Chicago Bears;
    Scott Clemenson, NHL NJ Devils hockey ;
    Tyler Trepp, a cappella group Straight No Chaser ;
    Ryan Lillard, Kansas City Royals;

    I guess if I’d stayed in school and worked harder I could have been a hockey player. Or even sung in an a cappella group.

  135. Mu Yixiao says:
  136. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    By all means, professor, then explain it. You’ve been itching to mount Sinai and deliver your tablets for a while now, so by all means …

    2
  137. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Participation trophies … Everybody gets one

    1
  138. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We could always try encouraging kids to drop out of school and live under a bridge. There’s an outside chance a few of them might become novelists.

    Of course, most of them will live their lives under that bridge, but hey, they’ve got a shot at greatness

    3
  139. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah. The idea that there are specific and finite answers to every question in the universe is one of those things that makes teaching so problematical.

  140. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Chip Daniels: I see colleges as the tool by which we decide what people are going to subsequently be allowed to stay in the middle class as opposed to being routed into sub-subsistence level employment–and certainly, we don’t intend all college graduates to be included in that cut. But I’ve become pretty jaded as I’ve entered my twilight years. I ascribe the change to all the years I wasted voting conservatives into office.

    2
  141. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I see colleges as the tool by which we decide what people are going to subsequently be allowed to stay in the middle class as opposed to being routed into sub-subsistence level employment

    Which completely ignores the wide array of trades jobs that pull in as much–or more–than those STEM kids slogging away in a cubicle in Silicon Valley.

  142. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    Kathy says:
    Friday, 25 June 2021 at 14:08
    @Teve:

    Here’s a thought for you to ponder: could it be that very high intelligence, just like very low intelligence, is a kind of mental defect?

    Oh absolutely. There was some study a few years back that suggested people with high IQs disproportionately had autistic kids. Maybe it’s the case that a double dose of something which causes you to stare at a flower until you figure out the stamens from the pistils is bad in terms of getting eaten by the tiger, while a single dose is reproductively useful, for instance. We assume more intelligence is good for reproductive success but reality sometimes shows the opposite.

    1
  143. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: If you’re actually a STEM kid in Silicon Valley you’re likely making $150-250 k a year, but many more STEM kids like me make $50k/year selling Tempur-pedics etc. (FWIW the best Tempur-pedic on the market is the LuxeAdapt, at ~$3,999)

    3
  144. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It also obviates any shred of personal responsibility for failure.

    Not “They decide”. “We decide”.

    If one is determined to find a bogeyman, one will always find a bogeyman.

    1
  145. D Pan says:

    @Teve: @Teve: @Teve:

    Why is that? Is it because of a choice you made? Where you live?

  146. Teve says:

    When I graduated with a STEM degree I was actually an engineer for a little while. I was so miserable I was drinking myself to sleep every night. Have you ever analyzed a prototype machine you were hired to fix, only to give a report explaining why the reason the lead engineer on the prototype quit is because he realized it could never work, and then be fired because you’re ‘too stupid to figure it out’? My biggest consolation is that every year, I go to their website, and see that they’re still not selling a pycnometer, because in drastic heat and humidity scenarios, it can’t fucking work
    . In 15 years, every physicist they’ve hired to fix the device, has been fired.

  147. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Just last week, I had a guy in my apartment cleaning out a blocked drain that was backing the shower water from the apartment above into my sink. While he was there, he told me his story. He works for a company that pays him a $4000/month base salary and provides him with a truck and the tools for the job. A major national plumbing company–whether they are franchises or whatnot, I don’t know, but their website include the instructions to list the state where you live–offered him a job that they were sure was going to be competitive. They were willing to pay him up to $17 dollars an hour provided that he had his own tools and truck.

    Yeah, there are some good skilled trade jobs out there. Since I came back from Korea, most of the offers that I’ve seen are more in the “up to $17/hour if…” line. And $17 an hour didn’t buy a life where you can afford a quarter million dollar house any more than the $15 and change that I was making almost 40 years ago. Fortunately, houses were lower then. And yes, I frequently suggest that kids look into opportunities in 2-year colleges and trade programs. Some of them even come back with stories that they’re making passable money. Others end up working at Amazon because they need to do something.

  148. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Actually, some hardship is excellent training for many creative endeavors. Probably be useful for people in professions, too. Might broaden their perspective. Might teach them what Harvard doesn’t. They might even acquire what formal education doesn’t teach: wisdom.

    Let’s see. The sub-prime meltdown was brought to us by who? The uneducated? The Iraq War? The Vietnam War? The Laffer Curve and trickle down economics? Citizens United? Private ownership of assault rifles? Yeah, thank God for all those credentialed folks who’ve done so very much for us.

    The US Senate is chock full of people with Ivy League educations and a very large number of lawyers. How’s that institution working? Imagine if some of those educated snots had at any point in their privileged lives encountered a broader cross-section of humanity. Some of them might have become human beings. Might it not be the case that the reason so many of these folks are narrow-minded assholes is because they lived their lives within a bubble of test-takers?

    I’m not dismissing the importance of formal education. I like my doctors to have been to med school. And it was a bunch of well-educated kids who gave us our mRNA vaccines. Bravo. But outside of STEM the benefits are less compelling. (For the record, I’m not one of those people who despise lawyers – I have several of them. Working for me.)

    Education deepens but also tends to narrow. Time spent chasing that A+ is taken from other pursuits. You assume that deep-but-narrow is preferable to wide-but-shallow. It’s certainly true some of the time. And other times, it’s not. What we can’t measure is the dog that didn’t bark. We don’t know, for example, that your path to becoming a successful lawyer didn’t stymie an alternate path to an even more successful and satisfying life. Maybe you could have sung in an a cappella group.

    We also don’t have a way to measure how many budding talents gave up because they sucked at taking tests or tolerating the daily grind. Might there be a downside to prioritizing test-taking skills above other skill sets? Maybe the clever rats who made it to the morsel of cheese at the end of the maze, had they been less narrowly cheese-focused, could have leapt out of the maze and gotten to the whole wheel of cheese.

    Ask yourself this: would the brilliant, test-taking, hard-working grind at the elite High School have profited from having some fellow students who were perhaps less adept at test-taking? Are we doing favors for the clever kids at Bronx Science HS by keeping them away from people with different abilities and interests? You think maybe young Ted Cruz might have been even more successful had he known some normal humans?

    6
  149. Teve says:

    @D Pan: I was fired right before the 2008 recession. Thousands of engineers in the Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill area were laid off. I had to move back to a poor town in North Florida and it’s very hard to find a situation where you can afford to change shit. I saved up $5000 to move cross country to a better life, and the shitty company I was working for fucked me over and I had to move back.

    1
  150. Teve says:

    @D Pan: There’s decent money to be made selling expensive furniture and I can fake being a cheery extrovert and have a decent life.

    4
  151. D Pan says:

    @Teve: @Teve:

    Sorry to hear that. I hope you have better success now that the economy is picking back up. I have been fortunate in barely graduating from engineering school, then went into the military because the early 80s recession sucked for getting a job. I’ve been in defense for almost 40 years and the work is stable, especially if you have a security clearance.

    1
  152. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:

    We assume more intelligence is good for reproductive success but reality sometimes shows the opposite.

    The hydrogen bomb remains the single greatest threat to human civilization, brought to us by folks with terrific educations.

    Many years ago I wrote a preface to a Jack London novel. (Under my wife’s name.) In that I pointed out the obvious flaw in London’s notions of evolution as being all about red in tooth and claw. Wolves are very smart animals which had to be rescued from extinction by humans. Whereas rabbits – not known to be brilliant – have no difficulty at all surviving. It’s survival of the best-adapted, not survival of the smartest. Every large predator on earth is endangered, while ants go merrily marching on.

    1
  153. Teve says:

    @D Pan: the economy is a lot better now but ironically I entered this job at the wrong time—last year everybody was at home saying “you know what? This couch actually sucks, let’s get a new one” so this year’s numbers have cratered vs last year’s.

    Yes, i know I’m whining.

  154. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: a lot of people have distorted views of evolution. I’m not talking about you FWIW. I very often get asked or, worse, explained to, things which make me eyeroll.

    It’s weird. I don’t know, for example, the details of how NASCAR mechanics tune their engines. If i read that NASCAR mechanics do such and such with their pistons or carburetors etc, I don’t think, “those guys are so stupid, they should just do blah blah blah.” I understand that there’s a Huge amount of knowledge I don’t have. Why do people not get that about biology, or quantum mechanics, or geology, or whatever?

    2
  155. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There is no objectivity when humans are in the frame.

    Tissue matching.

    If we were looking to harvest children for their organs, we would have very clear objective standards tailored to each recipient.

    Also, marathons, so long as you don’t divide by gender.

    Just felt pedantic. Carry on.

  156. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    Just felt pedantic.

    Hey, hey! I’m the pedant here!

  157. Mister Bluster says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:..I missed the Baltimore thing.

    Here it is with all 692 comments.

    Bonus points to anyone who counts how many posts HL92 made after he said this:
    (hint: his last post in this thread was three days later)

    HarvardLaw92 says:
    Friday, 1 May 2015 at 17:27
    I’ve enjoyed talking to (most of) you folks over the years, but this commentary is honestly just too much for me to stomach any further. I’m out of here. I wish you all well in your future endeavors.

    1
  158. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    Teve says:
    Wednesday, 26 August 2020 at 18:59
    adrenachrome harvesting in non-existing basements.

    Another idiotic part of this stupid conspiracy. A global coordinated system of torturing children to extract Adrenochrome ? The most stressed out human being in the world has about 5 µg of adrenaline per liter of plasma. 5 millionths of a gram per liter of plasma.

    Do you know how to make Adrenochrome? You oxidize epinephrine. I just checked Sigma Aldrich and you can buy 10 g of chemically pure epinephrine for $150. $150 and a smart chemistry undergrad could get you 1 million times more Adrenochrome than you could get from a person.

    QAnon is sheer idiocy.

  159. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:

    Why do people not get that about biology, or quantum mechanics, or geology, or whatever?

    Because people think an admission of ignorance is weakness. It would follow that they must think curiosity is also weakness. Granted it’s bad for cats, but I think curiosity might be useful for humans.

    2
  160. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think we’ve ventured into conflating social engagement with education. Of course I see the social benefits. I’m not discounting them (and never have). I do consider them to be a secondary function, at best.

    I just think we have seen more than ample evidence that tossing a broad spectrum of intellectual abilities into one beaker and expecting the brightest to bring the rest up to their level is a monumental, biblical scale fallacy. In reality, the class is ground to a halt, capable of proceeding no quicker than the ability of the least gifted student to absorb and comprehend the information. The primary function of the institution itself – education – is diminished.

    A lot of hay has been made of the “elite” schools, but the unavoidable operating factor in play there is that just about everybody in them is “that good” and the few who aren’t don’t survive that long. A kid who isn’t “getting it” in a class at HLS isn’t coddled, or given extra attention. They’re basically told to leave the class until such time as they can show up prepared. The school won’t reduce itself to the lowest common denominator in the name of inclusion. It’s up to the individual student to raise himself / herself to the level of the institution, and indeed, every year there are many who simply can’t and depart. They inevitably do well wherever they land – in other words, they’re by no measure morons, incapable, or lacking in motivation and work ethic. They’re just out of their depth and forced to face that fact.

    If these kids succeed,. no one will be cheering for them more loudly than I will, but I have a legitimate (and I don’t believe unfounded fear) that they outcome will instead be kids thrown into an advanced environment for which they aren’t prepared and failing. That failure is poisonous, and setting them up for it is (or should be) criminal. I’ve watched for a long time, and grown more and more incensed, at a conflation of factors (from parental disengagement, cultural devaluing of educational achievement, academic theory more invested in protecting its sacred shibboleths than in educating students (especially minority students), and on and on) which have produced an enormous achievement gap – despite hundreds of billions of dollars and untold well-meaning but ill advised tilt the field programs – between white and minority students that persists across geography, across socioeconomic status, across just about every measure that we can conceive.

    It’s persistent, and it’s pernicious, and it is not getting any better, so what we have been doing all these years clearly isn’t working. We are past the point where we should have asked ourselves 1) why and 2) what in the hell do we do about it? More than that, I believe it’s actually causing these kids to go backward, and that is a disservice to kids who should be lifted to the rafters and told day in and day out that they can achieve anything. Instead they get “you’re excused from responsibility and you’re fundamentally disadvantaged in a way that only we can fix for you – you can’t overcome it on your own.” It’s fundamentally crippling, which is why I get so annoyed at it and those who defend it.

    I’m not sure that setting them up for failure is justified by some cool cross cultural exchanges.

    4
  161. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Can’t attack the message, attack the messenger. Your tribe certainly is consistent.

    4
  162. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Teve:

    Disagreements between us aside, I am legitimately sorry to hear that. I do hope that things improve for you soon.

    4
  163. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: You’re missing the Captain Planet and the Planeteers aspect of the story. In much the same way as Hoggish Greedly, Dr. Blight, and Looten Plunder had plans that were not very efficient because the simple destruction of the earth was the larger goal, the adrenochrome harvesters are mostly interested in hurting children. The profit/adrenochrome is simply a fringe benefit. It’s the evil itself that’s the big draw.

    1
  164. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I got a degree in physics. And I tell people, “what was the most important thing about getting that degree?” Is it that I know the mass of an electron or I understand that electricity and magnetism is a special relativity aspect of the same thing? No. The most important thing is that you are confronted with situations where you absolutely 100% believe in something and you’re wrong. And you’re forced to acknowledge that and move on. And that’s a habit a lot of people never develop.

    4
  165. Gustopher says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Asserting that some standardized test like the SAT should be used, only prompts the question of why, and the answer “because it measures problem solving skills” then prompts the question of ….

    You can actually use them well, if you don’t use them for stack ranking, and instead use them as a filter — anyone with a score above X is considered the same.

    It still has all the problems with bias in the tests, but that can be compensated for by lowering X, because a 1360 on the SAT isn’t really better than a 1300 — not in terms of predicting future performance anyway.

    But, it can be used as a rough check against grade inflation in substandard schools.

    Select your group without the test, then use the test to check for problems in your group selection.

    You might discover that the John Harvard Middle School’s best and brightest aren’t bright enough. And you wouldn’t be doing the kids favors by setting them up to fail. But another school’s, while not scoring quite as high as the kids from the wealthy school, are just as likely to succeed.

    The standardized tests have a lot more precision than accuracy, at least in terms of predicting success, but they aren’t useless. They’re just misapplied.

    3
  166. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Which completely ignores the wide array of trades jobs that pull in as much–or more–than those STEM kids slogging away in a cubicle in Silicon Valley

    But the problem there is that the system* is predicated on EVERYONE going to college. High schools don’t teach trade programs, community colleges are increasingly cutting trade programs. 20 years ago when my daughter was entering high school, I asked about trade learning opportunities, and was told those weren’t available or necessary in our affluent suburban district. Blue collar training has gotten worse, not better, AFAICT.

    including the one that started this topic*

    2
  167. Teve says:

    @HarvardLaw92: thank you for the comment. I’m doing okay these days.

    Like the Matrix tells Neo, we are prepared to accept lesser outcomes. 😛

  168. Mister Bluster says:

    @HarvardLaw92:..attack the messenger.

    I’m sorry. You didn’t make all those posts. It must have been HL92.1.
    Maybe he will stand behind them and not whine about being attacked when his statements are reposted.

    2
  169. Mister Bluster says:

    test

  170. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Actually, some hardship is excellent training for many creative endeavors…They might even acquire what formal education doesn’t teach: wisdom.

    As I’ve mentioned here, I’ve spent over 30 years herding attorneys. Many attorneys are decent human beings, with a true respect for those who make their (often cushy) lives possible. Unfortunately, the majority I’ve known fall into the “Denny Crane” category. They’ve never had a “real” job as a minion (busser/cashier/waiter/stevedore/etc.) and generally were convinced their s*** didn’t stink. Truly miserable excuses for humanity who delighted to inflicting misery on the lower orders. I don’t solely blame the grinder that is law school or medical school, but the elitism some here extoll is corrosive to a society, IMO.

    I got in trouble in the 70’s for suggesting that MAYBE everyone should take a year bucking hay, or emptying bedpans. Again, YMMV.

    3
  171. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Whereas rabbits – not known to be brilliant – have no difficulty at all surviving. It’s survival of the best-adapted, not survival of the smartest.

    @Teve:

    a lot of people have distorted views of evolution.

    A lot of people. I finally slogged my way through Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism”. Woman never used twenty words if two hundred would do. She makes frequent references to Darwin, blaming him for people using social evolution as a rationalization for outrages. She capped it by defining evolution as a belief in constant “progress”.

    1
  172. inhumans99 says:

    I just wanted to drop in to say that I love this comment from Michael Reynolds post: “What we can’t measure is the dog that didn’t bark.”

    That is a great saying and I just googled it to learn it seems to have originated from a Sherlock Holmes story.

    Anyway, Happy Friday folks and wow…over 160 comments and counting, it has been awhile since a post generated this many comments.

  173. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Years ago the US military academies used a 2 step application process. The first was a standardized test that if passed allowed the applicant to move on to step 2 that was a, IIRC, 16 page application form. The standardized test showed you could successfully complete the academic work, the application was used for the academies to choose which applicants they wanted to enroll.

    All in all a pretty fair process.

    2
  174. gVOR08 says:

    @inhumans99:

    wow…over 160 comments and counting, it has been awhile since a post generated this many comments.

    It’s been awhile since we had a gun post.

    1
  175. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    No worries. I understand that presenting an cogent argument might be more than you can muster. I respect that you’re probably doing all that you’re capable of. Have a participation trophy 🙂

    4
  176. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Nothing gets the keys clacking like committing a little heresy.

    3
  177. Jax says:

    @gVOR08: No, please, not a gun post! Then the weirdos show up! 😛

    2
  178. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What you’re valuing is conventional, plodding, replicable success. Again: a subjective choice.

    It raises up more people to a decent life than concentrating on the outliers. The real trick is creating a system that churns out the conventional, plodding, replicable success without smacking down the exceptional outliers.

    I’m not sure that we are there in most school systems. I know that if it weren’t for my conventional, plodding, replicable success prioritizing education, I would have three Nobel prizes for Attempted Chemistry or something.

    1
  179. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    In 15 years, every physicist they’ve hired to fix the device, has been fired.

    One place I worked for 7 years had a desk for someone working on a very particular problem in distributed database design. Every year it was a different person. I left that job five or six years ago.

    Someone at my current job just left to go sit at that desk for 9 months before collapsing in despair and then switching teams and then quitting like everyone else did. Honestly, this guy didn’t seem that bright, so he might be the one who finally solves it by simply never realizing it is impossible.

    (I do not understand the problem beyond a rough approximation)

  180. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Actually, some hardship is excellent training for many creative endeavors. Probably be useful for people in professions, too. Might broaden their perspective. Might teach them what Harvard doesn’t. They might even acquire what formal education doesn’t teach: wisdom.

    I learned more from failing out of school than I ever learned in school.

    1
  181. Mister Bluster says:

    @HarvardLaw92: …participation trophy

    I was married to a Law School Student. I’ve already got one. AKA a divorce decree.

    1
  182. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    This reminds me of a faculty member at the Harvard Business School who, rather than like his colleagues pontificate theory about the trucking industry, actually took a year off teaching and got a job as a long-haul truck driver.

  183. wr says:

    @Teve: “many more STEM kids like me make $50k/year selling Tempur-pedics etc.”

    I used to have a Stearns and Foster California King, which was the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on. Sadly it got left behind when we moved to the tiny apartments of midtown Manhattan. Is the best Tempur-pedic as good?

    (And really, who wouldn’t rather have mattress wisdom from the source instead of reading barely coded messages from a man known to refer to Blacks as “lazy and shiftfless”?)

    1
  184. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    One place I worked for 7 years had a desk for someone working on a very particular problem in distributed database design. Every year it was a different person.

    One of them did solve the problem, but immediately quit and ran off to create bitcoin.

  185. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ” A kid who isn’t “getting it” in a class at HLS isn’t coddled, or given extra attention. They’re basically told to leave the class until such time as they can show up prepared. ”

    Of course that preparation can easily come in the form of a big check from Daddy, but I suspect if you even tried to acknowledge that there is actual corruption in the system to which you attribute your success your head would explode.

    5
  186. wr says:

    @gVOR08: “It’s been awhile since we had a gun post.”

    Actually, we have. I think everyone on both sides got tired of typing the same messages again and again…

  187. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Can we just stipulate that I think pretty much your entire worldview is nauseating, you feel exactly the same way about mine, and nothing either one of us has to say is of the slightest interest to the other? It would save a great deal of time and effort (and performative outrage)?

    5
  188. Stormy Dragon says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I got in trouble in the 70’s for suggesting that MAYBE everyone should take a year bucking hay, or emptying bedpans. Again, YMMV.

    I remember the summer I spent working at a factory that made plastic Dracula figurines. There were only two of us on the entire production floor, so I had to make every second Count.

    4
  189. Mu Yixiao says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    But the problem there is that the system* is predicated on EVERYONE going to college.

    Which is exactly the point I was trying to make.

    Fuck it. I’m going to sleep.

  190. Chip Daniels says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I got in trouble in the 70’s for suggesting that MAYBE everyone should take a year bucking hay, or emptying bedpans.

    Of all the wild and freaky ways to get in trouble in the 70s, and THAT’s how you chose to break bad?

    2
  191. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ok I saw busing so I know who you are referring to. Not only are you not on my side of the tracks–but you aren’t on the other side of the tracks either. You’re off in white wealthy wonderland and don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. Did you drink a sour Red tonight?

    Black academic achievement has had a steady increase since busing–and while not equal to white or Asian achievement–its trending in the right direction. Do you think 400+ years of cultural de-training around education ended because white men decided black people deserved better education and made us go to their schools because they were too trifling to fix the segregated schools they created in the first place?

    The cultural currency for black americans historically was in survival activities which meant agriculture and associated trades–not academics. How valuable was a Graduate degree to a Black person up through the 1970s? I’ll tell you–little. IF they were able to get one-they were highly likely to be working along side white people lesser educated–making less money. Now don’t every Black person get in line at once for that deal! Earning a Master’s or PHD and working next to dumber people who make more? That Sir, is the American Dream.

    You understand money–so you should (but won’t) understand how what you perceive as a “shortcoming” makes sense from another perspective. Now that credentialism actually pays (somewhat) for Black people–guess what? We are out there getting the credentials to get better incomes.

    Stick to commenting about the law–you shit your drawers almost everytime you talk about race.

    13
  192. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Again, cultures value activities that increase status. Asians aren’t selling out on Academics for the love of learning and education. They sell out because IT PAYS. In many places in America though the 1960s, there was no more a market for a black person (outside of academia) with a high school diploma as it was for someone with a 6th grade education. Cultures don’t change on a dime–it takes decades of stimulus and environmental conditions that influence change.

    5
  193. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Also, I would have an interest if the Nobel committee were slightly biased in favoring candidates with “elite” schooling pedigree (similar to theirs) over candidates who did not have such pedigree.

    2
  194. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    My premise is simple, and one that I’d imagine you understand as a soldier: perpetuating, even encouraging a victim mentality helps no one, least of all the victim, and all of these feel-good paternalistic programs (which are IMO targeted squarely at assuaging white guilt) do precisely that. They’re crippling and counterproductive. At the end of the day, you’re not owed; you owe yourself.

    And thanks for the lecture on oppression. Not for nothing, but my people have had several thousand years of that bullshit, so this 400 or so you’re busy holding a grudge over is nothing in comparison. In fact, I don’t think it inaccurate to say that the entirety – literally all – of our history is one of persecution, pogroms, being uprooted, being dispossessed, being excluded from participation in or more typically even membership in the societies in which we existed, having to migrate to a whole new reality and start over with nothing when those societies decided to blame their ills on us over and over and over again, and finally the treat of being murdered on an industrial scale. Despite all of that, we have prospered, again and again and again, and you can bet that we didn’t do so because some benevolent overlord thought we deserved a little help while we sat around feeling sorry for ourselves. Our experiences are similar. Our cultures are very different.

    My grandparents, literally the only two surviving members of my entire family, arrived in the US with nothing. They, and my father, spent their lives rebuilding despite discrimination. Think you have a monopoly on that? Think again … As late as the 1980s, Baltimore literally had three MLS services – a “white” one, a “black” one, and a “Jewish” one. They got the same bullshit in the US that we’ve been getting since time immemorial. Interesting factoid – some of the worst anti-Semitism I’ve ever experienced in my life came from African-Americans. Despite all of that crap, in two generations they had climbed back up to, in fact exceeded, where my family was in Germany, and they did it without help from Gentiles. They didn’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves. They got on with the business of getting on, so I’m not really that sympathetic (and to be frank, neither is my culture) to “woe is me” and “I am owed”. You aren’t owed. You owe yourself.

    1
  195. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Amazing confirmation of my premise. You can double the retainer I paid yesterday 🙂

    So Jewish culture suffered thousands of years of losses before they tightened up their game? Id say we’re behind but on track to have our game together in far less time than that. I fully expect us to be an economic force to be recon’d with in another 150 years or so. Its happening under your nose…thanks to the convenient smoke screen of white liberal tears and black activist outrage. A large portion of us are taking our share under the radar–with more waking up by the generation.

    I dont really have a dog in the fight for liberals and their programs. Most people hate them anyway–even people that need them. And I certainly dont give a shit about white tears about blacks and browns getting a shot at “higher” education. Frankly, I haven’t ran into some with an elite education, who also had elite intelligence so clearly one is not causal of the other…which means that its merely an exercise in rationing for upper and upper middle class status…your crowd.

    I just bought some Waterfront property in Florida that was owned by an old Congressman’s family who probably would have employed women like my grandmother to clean and do their laundry. Now Im going to sit on the porch watching the ocean and behold the progeny of people that would’ve called her a n$$&3r cut my grass. Pure poetry.

    2
  196. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Good for you. Teach your brethren how to do the same.

    2
  197. drj says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    So that you know, HL92’s depiction of Jewish adversity and success is a bunch of ahistorical bullshit. I assume this was deliberate.

    Some Jews, who were already rich and successful, managed to stay rich and successful by moving to more tolerant environments, e.g., Iberian Jews who, in the 16th-century, moved first to Antwerp and, later, the Dutch Republic.

    Other Jews, who started out poor, e.g. in Eastern Europe’s shtetls, remained poor and backwards, until they migrated, during the 19th/early 20th centuries, to more tolerant environments such as the US.

    Of course, the discrimination faced by Jews in Western Europe/the US was of a rather different kind than the discrimination faced by African Americans.

    During ww1, all western armies had Jewish officers. Until he was assassinated in 1922, Germany’s Foreign Minister was a Jew (previously, he had been a wealthy industrialist who had been responsible for Germany’s economic war planning).

    No such opportunities for black people during that time.

    3
  198. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    You can double the retainer I paid yesterday

    Hey, if you have a merger or acquisition you want to pursue and you have sufficient cash (I bill 2,100 an hour and I come with a team of folks billing behind me), I don’t discriminate. Write a check and we’ll do business.

    1
  199. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    Thank you for educating me / liberalsplaining about the history of my people … 🙄

  200. drj says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’re welcome. You needed it.

    3
  201. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    You left a great deal of it out. I thought it was particularly interesting how you held up the Netherlands as some paradise for Jews, but left out the blood libels and pogroms, which transitioned to special taxes only we paid (curiously enough, they’re both bleeding by different routes). Seem to have missed the rest of Europe as well. I won’t speculate about why …

    And sure, there were Jewish officers in the western armies during WW1. Look a few years down that road for Jewish reality in Europe. Why, they loved us as brothers …

    asshole … 🙄

  202. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Not for nothing, but my people have had several thousand years of that bullshit, so this 400 or so you’re busy holding a grudge over is nothing in comparison.”

    Wait — I thought if I didn’t respond to you we weren’t going to get any more performative outrage.

    2
  203. drj says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I thought it was particularly interesting how you held up the Netherlands as some paradise for Jews

    Are you arguing with the voices in your head?

    OK then…

  204. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Interestingly, the only racial demographic I have mentioned in this thread, at all, was Asian, and even then only as an example of achievement and excellence. I’d proffer that Asians succeeded in spite of efforts like these, not because of them. They simply got down to the business of work, and succeeded. They didn’t need you to help them because they were already pretty busy helping themselves.

    I mentioned, and focused on, culture, which is the root of the problem and which all of your feel good measures don’t begin to address or frankly even consider. If a culture – any culture – doesn’t value, or actively demeans, academic achievement, there isn’t a single thing your feel good fairy dust will do to change that. Indeed, it’s almost heresy for the “nothing bad that happens to you is ever your fault or the consequence of your own choices as long as you’re a minority left to even entertain the thought.

    Which is why nothing changes, and nothing ever will.

    You mention “Asian” as if it means more than fuck-all in terms of culture.

    And the bolded phrase: you know good and fucking well that’s a straw.

    2
  205. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    The performative outrage comes from you.

  206. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    No, I’m arguing with someone presumptuous enough and arrogant enough and smug enough to lecture the descendant of Shoah victims on how wonderful Europe was for Jews.

  207. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Really? It seems to me to be the basis of liberal thinking about the subject. Ask John Ogbu how voicing results outside of progressive shibboleths about race turned out for him.

    And none of you have explained Shaker Heights yet.

  208. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I take your point re: setting people up for failure. But it’s not just elite schools, we have a system-wide bias in favor of higher education, and a bias against job training. HS pressures 100% of kids to go to college, and about half shouldn’t. A lot of that is on well-educated Democrats (and teacher’s unions) who assume that their path is the path for everyone. It’s magical thinking. As though the perfect society is one where everyone has abbreviations before or after their names.

    Yay, we’re all gonna be doctors and lawyers and professors! I’m sorry, what? The toilet won’t flush? Um. . .

    But while Democrats lean way too hard on education as a cure-all, educational snobbery and focus on professions is non-partisan. A kid in med school is a triumph, a kid becoming a journeyman electrician is a failure. I have a nephew who’s an electrician. The kid will never go hungry and he’ll be ordering his lattes from people with BAs who thought they were going to be surgeons.

    We tend to focus on the success stories, like you, and just hand-wave away the fact that most lawyers do not become well-heeled partners in major firms. In fact, you are an outlier almost as much as I am. The path to becoming you is a path that left a lot of bodies behind. It’s a bit like how we are with actors – there’s one Daniel Day Lewis per thousand guys doing local ads for car dealers. Writers as well. Maybe 1% of aspiring writers get anywhere near my life.

    What I’d like in a perfect world is for a more personalized education, tailored for individual talents and abilities. But for that to really work we’d have to become a society where the excellent waiter was as valued as the excellent carpenter and the excellent surgeon. It’s snobbery that has us leaning on every kid to become a professional.

    I’m as proud of my ability to carry six tables in a busy dinner rush with the kitchen weeded as I am of my ability to write books. A bit more respect for competence and a bit less automatic deference for credentials would be helpful. But would you really be OK with a world where a law partner at a major firm had the same social status as an excellent plumber? I would be – it’s already how I think. I don’t GAF what your job title is, if you do it well, respect. If you don’t do your job well then the degree on your wall means fuck-all.

    1
  209. drj says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Yup. Still arguing with the voices in your head.

    On that same note, your earlier comment:

    I bill 2,100 an hour

    Unless a lot has changed in the legal profession in the past few years, this is more or less akin to claiming that you’re a starting D1 quarterback.

    Maybe there’s more that’s only happening in your head.

    Or did you perhaps start day drinking to alleviate the stress?

    I mean, something definitely isn’t adding up here.

  210. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “The performative outrage comes from you.”

    Funny. I don’t recall typing ten thousands words screaming about how I’m entitled to look down on people of other races because my people have been so oppressed and anyone who disagrees with me is a hideous racist and I make thousands of dollars an hour and I’m better than everyone here because I went to an elite school which proves just how much better I really am than all you lower class losers with your silly liberal fetishes about equality and by the way I scored really well on my tests and they were really hard not like the ones you losers took and that’s why I got into an elite school where everyone is a genius and my people were more oppressed than yours.

    But then, I’ve got mirrors in my house.

    2
  211. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I don’t think raising the example of Ogbu does what you think it does here. If your point is that elite media commentors and politicians are largely mediocre, fine. I would argue it’s much more complicated than that, but that’s a different discussion.

    Ogbu’s work has been criticized pretty extensively, at both a theoretical level and specific data showing his conclusions were mistaken. But the media coverage of that is, excuse me, there has been little coverage of it. Yet, the McWhorters of the world get all the mics they want to cite his claims.

    More than that, his idea was based on differences between voluntary minorities and involuntary minorities, which would render your comparisons of Asian and Black communities moot.

  212. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    I’ve read the studies. Ogbu’s work was criticized pretty extensively by a system invested in preserving the conclusions and theories his work undermined. The guy who reveals that the emperor has no clothes is always going to be reviled by the other invested in pretending that he does. His findings ring true to me in a way that those pressed by the race pimps and apology industry do not. They’re invested in laying 100% of the responsibility on external factors while excusing those failing to thrive from any responsibility, despite the examined families having upper middle-class incomes, highly educated parents, and attending a world class school system located in a by all accounts well integrated, diverse community with little to no history of meaningful racial tension. It just doesn’t ring true to me. Ogbu does. When you strip away all of the social-economic and ethnic bases that have been prostituted as explanations for failure to thrive by producing a situation like Shaker Heights, there are two possible rationales left – either shadowy manipulation is taking place, or those failing to thrive bear some degree of responsibility for that failure. The latter is certainly more plausible unless you’re invested in protecting the former. The reaction to his work, and the manner in which it was carried out, underlined that for me

    None of them adequately explained the situation Ogbu directly observed in Shaker Heights. Ogbu did. They attacked his findings, without meaningfully refuting them, because they didn’t like what they were hearing.

  213. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    I don’t think any of you are racists. I think you’re invested in protecting and perpetuating a set of ideas that are both self-serving and harmful to those you purport to be trying to help. That’s the premise of what I’ve said above. The reaction was about what I expected. Questioning orthodoxy and shibboleths doesn’t go down very well here. Never has – liberals do love the certainty and superiority of their own smug conclusions about the world, which is why upending them is so satisfying.

    The rest of it? Little more than FU’s to people I don’t like in response to FU’s from them. They, and you, look in those mirrors and pretend that you see tolerance. The simpler truth is that you’re every bit as intolerant of dissent as those you despise, and it only takes a couple of tweaks to get you there.

    1
  214. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    If you want an example of that, look no further than

    @drj:

    Didn’t take very much to bring out the knives, did it? 🙂

  215. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Absolutely, bring back vocational ed, yesterday, and yes. The guys who basically rebuilt this crumbling historical edifice of a money pit – electricians, wood workers, plumbers (especially the plumbers), etc. – amaze me, and are skilled in ways that I can’t begin to comprehend. I’ve never thought of them in terms of social status. I think of them in terms of “exceedingly good at what they do”. That engenders respect. I have enormous respect for them as the experts that they are.

    Legit truth? Couldn’t care any less about the title as anything more than a means to an end. Likewise the school. Means to an end. I’d have attended the Latoya Jackson School of Law and Nails if it got me to where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do. Means to an end. I do what I do 1) because I love the work, the battle, and all that’s involved with it, and 2) I have expensive likes, so I need an income to match. Mostly, probably 95%, #1. I’m a classic Type A and I relish winning, but the fight is what makes it fun, not the win.

    I don’t care about prestige so much as I like having a little fun with these clowns because they so hypersensitive about it (like just about everything else).

    1
  216. @HarvardLaw92:

    I don’t care about prestige so much as I like having a little fun with these clowns because they so hypersensitive about it (like just about everything else).

    That is hilarious.

    4
  217. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ok Ill bite….again.

    Shaker Heights is a microcosm of the downside of integration. Why anyone expects the 70-90 percentile of black students to be their best self because they go to white schools run by white people full of white children (who mostly dont want them there) is beyond me .

    This goes against the very nature of child psychology. The fundamental method of leadership is pacing and mirroring…which translates heavily in a child’s brain to physical appearance. It matters that kids understand they have black skin and very few other people in their world do. It just does. Reverend Wright mentioned this during before his split with Obama and was pilloried for saying it. Even though its true.

    I can count on 2 hands how many black teachers I had in 18 years of schooling and 1 hand how many were black men. Classes hit different with my black teachers and especially the black male ones. I had a college professor that was former CIA and I was like “damn, Black dudes can be secret agents?” His very classroom manner raised the game in a way not possible by the white and asian teachers at my university. This goes beyond teaching information to be regurgitated on a test.

    My saving grace is I come from a family of black men that built schools, chuches, were war vets, graduated college when it was rare to do so…so Im built a little different than most.

    If I were to build a school (which still happens to be on my bucket list) it would be mostly black staffed and most of those would be men. I guarantee we would have comparable results to any program… because we know the angle to best approach our kids to get them to respond. White teachers….do not.

    Shaker Heights doesnt prove what you think it does. In order to draw your conclusions you’d have to track the same thing for white children at majority black schools to include the staff.

    Im not a lawyer, but if I were Id destroy you in court…and buy you a drink afterwards for the pleasure.

    6
  218. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And yet so accurate 🙂

  219. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Oh give me a break. I had some respect but you’re trotting out Farrakhan level separatist bullshit now. Interestingly, on a certain level, however, you’re hitting the mark without intending to.

    Ogbu found, from direct interaction and observation, that the primary drivers of underperformance were indeed related to racial difference, but predicated in the pressure placed on the kids by their own culture not to “act white” (termed as meaning excelling academically, seeking out advanced classes, etc.), coupled with parental disengagement (the parents tended to have an attitude of “I pay my taxes, therefore it’s the school’s responsibility to educate my child.”) They tended not to be involved – didn’t check homework assignments, didn’t engage with their kids about how things were going to remain aware and abrest of potential problems, etc. We’re talking about the kids of doctors, lawyers, in one case a judge. People who had already well succeeded within and were exceptionally situated to steer their children through navigating this supposedly malevolent white world.

    I sympathize with those kids, because peer pressure is a beast, but it’s ludicrous to sidestep the fact – fact – that by their own admission they were consciously and intentionally in effect sabotaging their own academic performance in response to pressure from within their own culture. Not me saying that. Them saying that. If you want to do something useful for these bright kids who should be excelling, fix that problem from within.

    I’m supposed to accept what you’re selling me – that these kids can only excel in an environment where they don’t have to see white faces? Spare me… I think you’re layering your own resentments and bitterness onto the scenario now (which peeked its head out a bit earlier in your comment about grass. You showed your hand).

    You’re certainly welcome to try your hand at taking me on. Many have tried, but I’ll tell you this – the last place you want to see me is in court. Best of luck.

  220. mattbernius says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    This goes against the very nature of child psychology. The fundamental method of leadership is pacing and mirroring…which translates heavily in a child’s brain to physical appearance. It matters that kids understand they have black skin and very few other people in their world do. It just does.

    Complete aside on this topic, there has been an ongoing experiment to have kids draw what professions looks like.

    Over the years the STEM related drawings (scientists and Doctors) have become more female.

    Still most are coded as racially white. There are a number of theories as to why.

    I do think this gets to a broader issue about modeling and having folks within a specific community of practice who look like you.

    2
  221. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Yes, Ogbu is the sole expert. I know nothing…me…who was actually a kid accused of ‘acting white’. He studied it. I lived it. So yes, I do expect you to give consideration to the context Im providing if your goal is to understand. Those same kids that joke about exceptional kids acting white still socialize with those kids on shared interests so the peer pressure is nominal. The kids that felt more pressure simply did well and lied about school being hard or failing so as to not come across as smug know it alls.

    The factor the study left out is that early generations of successful black professionals came from segregated communities where everyone was part of the education and training of kids. Anyone black over 60 will tell you the teacher or principal drove to your house to sit down with your parents if there was a problem. Integration changed that so the support system that allowed black professionals to focus on their careers to open things for the younger generations was now gone. White folks have a sink or swim type ethos post-integration parents werent ready for….and lets be honest. Those kids, me, weren’t welcome in the schools we were bussed to. So if your child wasnt doing well, you probably couldn’t even get actionable advice how to help them.

    Farakhan stresses a black-only economy, which is stupid. I, however recognize “human factors” in education. Im sorry if you believe you could mentor and inspire a young black child better than me. You can’t unless its the exception. Its not you…its them.

    Likewise, I would mentor a white child like they were my own son…knowing there are some limitations on how much I can truly penetrate the psyche to pace and lead. If it happens, its an exception.
    At the end of the day, Id put on a purple Barney costume if thats what it took to coach a young person to realize their full potential. In this case the ends justify the means.

    For this reason Im certain black children would do better with mostly black teachers….and I dont think anyone should be offended by that.
    Does black culture have certain self defeating tendencies….of course. Even black people know that. Chris Rock did a famous bit on it. The absence of Jim Crow will solve most of those deficiencies over time. White people love doing drugs so every culture has a dark side. We aren’t the exception here.

    4
  222. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @mattbernius: It matters. When I first came in the Military I distinctly remember the sense of awe I experienced being in the presence senior Black officers. Yes, I was also awe struck by senior White officers. But the difference was there was a feeling of wanting to be like that Black officer. My former CIA black male professor…made me daydream about what a career in the CIA would be like. He was just that impressive. All of black males that took his class talked about him with a high level of respect. We’d never seen a guy like him, the suits, the vocabulary, the command of the classroom. And this was from kids that were used to being the smartest 10-15 black kids in high school and many better educatedthan their parents. We realized there were higher levels…that were also displayed by other Professors…but didn’t resonate because they were Asian or White

    3
  223. @HarvardLaw92:

    And yet so accurate

    Whatever you say, HarvardLaw92 who bills at $2100/hour and wants to make sure everyone knows it all the time, whatever you say.

    3
  224. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I didn’t want to presume, but that makes 100% sense to me.

    2
  225. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There is no better way in existence of annoying the resident Bolsheviks…

    Tad amusing, though, when there is no group of people in existence more obsessed with demonstrating prestige and the minutiae of pecking orders than academics. Postnominal billboard, anyone? Physician, heal thyself 🙂

  226. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Fair enough, and well put.

    2
  227. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ” The simpler truth is that you’re every bit as intolerant of dissent as those you despise, and it only takes a couple of tweaks to get you there.”

    I’m fine with dissent. It’s pomposity that annoys me.

    And I don’t despise you. I enjoy it when you post on the law. But on race? Dude, I’m laughing at you. I suppose if I were a better person I’d be able to feel sorry for a man of such wealth and power who was so desperately insecure he constantly had to brag how much better he was to a bunch of strangers.

    4
  228. @HarvardLaw92:

    Postnominal billboard, anyone?

    Let’s be straight. Yes, on a blog wherein I am claiming some level of expertise on politics I note that I have a PhD in the subject. I am sure your letterhead and business card have JD appropriately annotated after your name. Such things are normal.

    But I would note my byline isn’t Dean Full Professor, Ph.D.

    The bottom line is that where you went to school, how much you bill, and where you live has very little to do with your ability to comment on a blog. The fact that you hold a JD and actively practice is certainly useful in terms of assessing your ability to comment on the law (your law school and billable rates, however, less so).

    The most bottom of bottom lines is this: you are unnecessarily rude. And I don’t mean when having different opinions, that is perfectly fine. But you go out of your way to be insulting. Maybe you think that gives you some kind of edge in the fight, but it really just comes across as pathetic and insecure.

    May I note that you come here to read us (and not the other way around). If you hold my career and education in contempt, I guess you do James’ and Kingdaddy’s as well. It is a profoundly weird set of behaviors, in my view, especially if you are as important, rich, and powerful and you want all of us to think you are.

    2
  229. @HarvardLaw92:

    There is no better way in existence of annoying the resident Bolsheviks…

    BTW, this is just silly. All you are doing is admitting you are a troll. Congrats.

    1
  230. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let’s be straight. Yes, on a blog wherein I am claiming some level of expertise on politics I note that I have a PhD in the subject

    Let’s be straight. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that you have PhD emblazoned on your mailbox. Perhaps embroidered on your pajamas.

    I am sure your letterhead and business card have JD appropriately annotated after your name. Such things are normal.

    LOL, no. Such things are decidedly not normal. They’re normal in your abnormal world. Out here in mine, they’ll get you marked as “underachiever trying too hard to impress”. In my world, the name & reputation of the firm, along with your personal reputation, are knowns that speak for themselves. Unnecessary decorations like postnominals or the dreaded “Esq.” are decidedly frowned upon. The absolute most that will ever appear below my name is “Attorney at Law”, and even then only on specific types of correspondence. Moreover, my secretaries make that decision. I don’t.

    But I would note my byline isn’t Dean Full Professor, Ph.D.

    Seems to me you found a way to squeeze all of that, and more, into your byline. *shrug*

    The bottom line is that where you went to school [says the guy who lists basically his entire educational history in his byline], how much you bill [issued as a response to a snarky comment about paying me a retainer], and where you live [Noted. I’ll be sure to remind everyone not to talk about where they live in the future, since Stephen, Professor Dean PhD doesn’t like it] has very little to do with your ability to comment on a blog

    The most bottom of bottom lines is this: you are unnecessarily rude

    To you …

    But you go out of your way to be insulting.

    To you. Guilty as charged …

    Maybe you think that gives you some kind of edge in the fight, but it really just comes across as pathetic and insecure.

    Nope. At basis I just really, really, really don’t like you. More fairly I should say I really, really, really don’t like what you’re a glaring archetype of.

    If you hold my career and education in contempt, I guess you do James’ and Kingdaddy’s as well.

    Nope. James strikes me as one of the most humble and down to earth people I’ve ever encountered, despite clearly being quite intelligent and quite accomplished. King whomever strikes me as talking to hear himself speak, which he does at some length. 99% of the time I just ignore him. You strike me as what you accuse me of being – inordinately impressed with yourself and looking for a stage upon which to hold forth (your avatar is amazingly on target). I’m honestly not concerned with either your career or your education, as neither of them are relevant to me in any material way. If I poke at them at all, it’s more because you are so impressed with them and yourself. At basis, as I said, I just don’t like you.

    May I note that you come here to read us (and not the other way around).

    I come here to read, in order of importance:

    1) James’s commentary
    2) Commentary from the readers

    Your stuff I basically ignore unless it’s a daily forum you’re only associated with pro forma. I’ll occasionally reply to a reader comment on them I might find interesting, but the content of the postings themselves – very little interest. Outside of a point of law I might directly address (or correct), typically crickets. They strike me as “Behold, as I pontificate about how smart I think I am”. Zero interest in that, sorry. That thing you do at times where you keep generating new successor threads to reset discussion (and the center of attention) about a topic that isn’t going your way in the previous post’s comments section is particularly nauseating. Just as long as we’re being blunt and honest with each other, you know …

  231. @HarvardLaw92: Hilarous.

    Cheers.

    No wonder you write under a pseudonym.

    1
  232. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Hilar[i]ous.

    Yes, you are, but then again that tends to be true of most academics. Good day, Professor Dean PhD 🙄

  233. @HarvardLaw92: Thanks for the edit.

    Let me stop playing games: you are a guest here and if you are going to continue with rude behavior and contempt, you can leave. Plain and simple. We don’t run this place to have to deal with jerks. You want to disagree, fine, that is expected and welcome. But I don’t have to put up with contempt.

    Do you understand?

    1
  234. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Funny, I was under the impression that James owned this, not you, and that you were a guest as well. If he has a problem with me, I’ll certainly listen to what he has to say, but this isn’t one of your classrooms and I’m underwhelmed. I’m not one of your students.

    When you get around to uniformly enforcing (and following…) these rules you seem to have found a sudden affinity for, let me know. I can’t help but notice that you not only ignored, in fact you also amplified personal attacks above, but somehow I’m the only one you have a rules problem with. Accordingly, this rings hollow with the odor of personal grievance. If you don’t like contempt, my suggestion would be to not dish it out, or better yet, just don’t reply to what I post at all. Believe me when I say I’ll certainly be more than thrilled to extend you the same courtesy. I already ignore your threads. Ignoring your comments, which I basically already do anyway, would be an added delight. You and I are oil and water, so perhaps it’s best that we just don’t mix.

  235. James Joyner says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Enough of this.

    As Steven and I run the site in our spare time, we don’t police the comments as well and consistently as we might like. And regulars tend to get more slack than newcomers. You’ve been commenting here for going on a decade now, contributing just under 7000 comments. You’re one of the few regulars left that defends a traditionalist view in a manner that’s actually useful to the conversation. Increasingly, alas, you seem to simply be trolling and hurling insults. That’s not at all useful.

    Further, rudeness toward the hosts is not welcome. Push back at our ideas all you want. You have knowledge and experiences we lack and we may well be missing something, particularly on issues where we’re publicly thinking through them. But name-calling is not persuasion.

  236. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Well enough. I’d ask that hosts who engage in the same be held to the same standard of account. My dislike for, indeed aversion to, Steven is well documented. Don’t care for his personality, don’t care for the manner in which he holds forth as though this is his classroom, don’t care for the perceived expectation of deference. Complete and total aversion. Oil and water. As a result I avoid threads he originates, and I typically do not independently engage his comments on the threads of others. In the odd event that he replies to one of mine, I’ll tend to try to ignore it.

    As for the rest, if I’m attacked, as I was in these examples (I could provide many more, but these illustrate the point):

    Here
    @Stormy Dragon:

    Here
    @Teve:

    Here
    @Teve:

    Here
    @Mister Bluster:

    I will punch back, without exception, 1000% of the time. That’s my personality. If that’s problematic, then so be it, and mea culpa. Just hold everybody else to the same standard.

    I’ll further note that beginning here:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Our illustrious complainer began to engage, on his own initiative, in the same sort of snarky, attacking, bitchy behavior. In keeping with the above, he got the same in return. Both barrels. Perhaps out of some misguided expectation of deference and genuflection he did not and will not get (neither of them are remotely in my repertoire), he got his fee fees hurt, and hence we find ourselves here. My comment would be the same as above: if you propose to have and enforce rules, then apply them consistently to everyone.

    My mistake was in ever replying to him in the first place, which is always a bad idea and never ends well, hence I will return to my prior policy of pretending that he doesn’t exist. It might be more productive for him to do the same (as I proposed).

  237. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I see that my reply was deleted. If I’m not going to be given an opportunity to respond, and more pointedly if certain others are going to be held to a different standard than I am, it’s probably best that we part ways. I find both distasteful. Wish you the best. You I’ve always been impressed with.

  238. James Joyner says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The spam filter automatically sends comments with more than four hyperlinks to the moderation queue, requiring manual release when a moderator happens to notice.

    I do think it’s fair to note that others on the thread were also in attack mode, although most of the examples are simply citing your own past comments. Some commenters clearly rub others the wrong way and past baggage is brought into the conversation.

    I’m honestly not sure what Steven, my friend of nearly a quarter-century, has done to generate your dislike. I’m probably more prickly than he is as a general matter. Regardless, it’s likely best not to engage if you can’t do so cordially.

    1
  239. @HarvardLaw92:

    My comment would be the same as above: if you propose to have and enforce rules, then apply them consistently to everyone.

    Look, this comes across to me as whining, and it is often what commenters who are asked to modify their behavior say.

    I have actually ignored your behaviors in the past because you do contribute in useful ways to the discourse. James and I have both banned users for less, so this not about some uniform application of the rules.

    But look, you are a grown adult and surely you understand that at some point if you are being an ass at the party to one of the hosts of the party, you are likely to be asked to leave.

    You are free not to like me. I am not asking you to like me (quite frankly I find it kind of weird you have this strong of feelings about someone you have never met–and I can honestly say that I have no specific feeling about you as a person because I do not know you, how can I?).

    Can I be professorial? Of course, I can. Can you argue like an attorney? Oddly enough, yes. (And I know from experience that those two approached don’t always work well together).

    I honestly thought that you were enough of an adult to deal with someone you don’t like in an open discussion. Clearly, this is not the case.

    And yes, I got involved in some snarky back and forth with you above that was pointless. I won’t apologize as much as emphasize it wasn’t constructive.

    Regardless, don’t be rude and insulting and we can move forward. But I have no intentions of having to tiptoe around you on this site.

  240. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    As you put it, he simply, intensely, rubs me the wrong way. I alluded to some of the reasons why above. I’m sure you’ve encountered people in your life that you just viscerally, instinctively, dislike. I’m sure I’m such a person for some others. It is what it is.

    I reread that “I’m going to ignore him” phrase, and found myself asking “What the hell even is the point? It’s a resounding echo chamber. You’re going to be attacked (at times viciously and quite often personally) for having the temerity to dissent, replying in kind is frowned upon (for some …), and the standards are mostly enforced in the breach & haphazardly (I understand why, but it can still be galling, especially when it’s, as earlier above, a situation where someone who should be enforcing them equitably instead imports them into a pissing contest while engaging in the same behavior). ”

    It clarified the writing on the wall.

  241. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’m sorry, I was speaking to James, with whom I would prefer to continue. Your further criticism is, frankly, from my vantage point both unwelcome and unhelpful.

  242. @HarvardLaw92: You don’t get to dictate with whom or how I communicate on the site.