Thursday, November 11, 2010

Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected

New York Times

An achievement gap separating black from white students has long been documented — a social divide extremely vexing to policy makers and the target of one blast of school reform after another.

But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches. [...]


  1. I'm not sure what this has to do with the blog's subject of "Issues of Jewish Identity", but...

    Poverty is a partial factor.

    The stupidity of some low-income blacks thinking that by getting educated and developing an interest in higher culture, one is being disloyal to the black / ghetto culture of their people.

    I should point out that this notion is actually the topic of Michelle Obama's thesis "Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community". Presumably this is what attracted her to Rev J Wright's worldview; his church is among those that preach "Black Liberation Theology" (wikipedia).

    In contrast, the primary point of The Cosby Show, featuring a black family whose parents were a doctor father and a lawyer mother was Cosby's insistance that this notion of "Black Values" is the black community keeping itself down. That the Huxtables (or the Cosbys) could be successful, wealthy, live in a brownstone in a Yuppie neighborhood, and still appreciate Jazz music and other centerpieces and positive elements of black culture.


  2. The term I was looking for is "crab bucket".

    A fisherman catches crabs and puts them in a bucket. Each one alone could get out of the bucket. However, whenever one tries to pull itself out of the bucket, the others pull it back in.


  3. Success in academics, or at anything intellectual really, generally requires good self-concept, a sense of hope, and some small modicum of positive reinforcement. Black inner city youth are far less likely to find around them such psycho-spiritual resources.

    The real study they should do of African Americans from poor communities but with strong Church affiliation compared to similar counterparts without any such affiliation.

    The answer to Mark Twain's qasha regarding the "secret of the Jew"? Talmud Torah, a vehicle for "deep" chinnukh & self-realization far greater than any devisable by man.

  4. Read "The Bell Curve" by Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray.

    Chapter 13: "It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences."

  5. "The Bell Curve" was not subject to peer review. When the peers did review it, the thesis didn't stand up to scrutiny.

    See, for example "Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects: The IQ Paradox Resolved (Psychological Review, 2001, Vol. 108, No. 2, 346-369). In it, Curie and Johnson prove that AFQT scores do differ by economic statis, and thus are not a measure of "maternal" intelligence. Or Verbal Ability and Socioeconomic Success: A Trend Analysis (Social Science Research 26 (1997), pp. 331–376), in which an independent study using the General Social Survey to measure, and failed to find a gap larger than expected from the economics. There are many such papers.

    In a sequel to The Bell Curve, "Income Inequality and IQ", Charles Murray (one of the two authors) used a different kind of analysis. He compared siblings where one was of basically average intelligence, and the other well above it. In it he finds a different correlation between IQ and income. In short, the book about IQ and genetics proves a smaller correlation to income and thus leaves a gap that he can pin on genetics, the book on IQ and income shows a larger one, with no measurable gap left to explain genetically.


  6. The only "peers" that didn't like it to pass muster under their "scrutiny", were the politically correct liberal university types that couldn't tolerate its conclusion, truthful as they were, since it went against their religion of liberalism.

  7. Sam,

    If you're going to engage in ad hominem, you need to prove that the authors I quoted and the group I said they are examples of are all "liberal university types".

    On the other hand, did you look at the people The Bell Curve cites? The parallel job, dismissing it as being the product of people who started the study already racist, is quite easy.

    Instead, analyze the arguments on their merits rather than uninformed caricatures of their authors.

    To bring this conversation on topic... How far do we take the notion that HQBH made a point of creating just one Adam so that we don't believe this kind of thing. In contrast to Kenaan, which starts out accursed, Avraham won't let Yitzchaq marry a Canaanite (or would he?), Amaleiq, Amon and Moav, and other indications that we do judge genetic groups of people as inherently different.



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