Juan Williams writing in the WSJ
* * *
* NOW, FRANKLY, FOLKS, I LOOK UPON JUAN WILLIAMS AS A BIT OF A CLOWN. STILL... LET'S SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY.
As America’s K-12 students enjoy the first weeks of summer vacation, there is good news about minority education in the U.S. The percentage of black and Hispanic high-school graduates heading off to college is going up.
* WHY IS THAT GOOD NEWS? (IT COULD EASILY INDICATE ADMISSION STANDARDS ARE BEING LOWERED. THAT'S NOT A RACIST COMMENT... THAT'S SIMPLY THE FIRST THING ONE THINKS OF WHEN ONE POSSESSES A BACKGROUND IN STATISTICAL ANALYSIS.)
And black and Hispanic dropout rates are going down.
* AGAIN... THIS FACT IN A VACUUM DOESN'T TELL ME MUCH...
According to the research organization Child Trends, between 1972 and 2014 the Hispanic dropout rate fell to 11% from 34%; the black dropout rate decreased to 7% from 21%.
* WHY TAKE 1972 AS THE STARTING BASELINE? (JUST ASKING...)
But these encouraging statistics mask some uglier truths about the state of minority education.
While 40% of white Americans age 25-29 held bachelor’s degrees in 2013, that distinction belonged to only 15% of Hispanics, and 20% of blacks.
* THE QUESTION FOR ME IS... WHAT VALUE DO THESE DEGREES ACTUALLY HOLD APART FROM "CHECKING A BOX" AND ALLOWING ONE TO APPLY FOR JOBS ARTIFICIALLY AVAILABLE ONLY TO "COLLEGE GRADUATES?"
Another discouraging sign: The Atlantic magazine recently reported that the share of black undergraduates at top-ranked universities has stagnated at about 6% for the past 20 years.
* AGAIN... THIS DOESN'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE A "DISCOURAGING" SIGN. (WHAT ABOUT THE PERCENTAGE OF WHITE UNDERGRADUATES... ASIAN UNDERGRADUATES... JEWISH UNDERGRADUATES...???)
(SEE, FOLKS... THESE ARE THE KIND OF QUESTIONS ANYONE VERSED IN STATISTICAL SCIENCE ASKS WHEN TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF A SINGLE BIT OF INFORMATION REGARDING HOW IT RELATES TO THE "BIG PICTURE.")
More minority students are graduating from high school, but they are often going off to community colleges, most commonly two-year schools, and not earning a four-year degree.
* AND THE "TONE" I READ IS THAT... "THIS IS BAD."
The root of this problem: Millions of black and Hispanic students in U.S. schools simply aren’t taught to read well enough to flourish academically.
* AND YET... RETURNING TO WILLIAMS' OPENING SENTENCE... "THE PERCENTAGE OF BLACK AND HISPANIC HIGH-SCHOOL GRADUATES HEADING OFF TO COLLEGE IS GOING UP."
* FOLKS... AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTES THE DISCONNECT THERE...???
For them, the end of the school year marks another lost opportunity, another step toward a life of blunted potential.
* PERHAPS THEY'RE JUST NOT THAT BRIGHT? PERHAPS THEY'RE NOT ACADEMICALLY GIFTED - NOR INTERESTED! PERHAPS RATHER THAN THE PROBLEM BEING THAT THEY DON'T GO ON TO COLLEGE, THE REAL PROBLEM IS ACTUALLY THAT COLLEGE IS FAR MORE OFTEN THAN NOT AN ARTIFICIAL REQUIREMENT THAT HAS LITTLE OR NO CONNECTION TO ONE'S ABILITY TO LEARN TO DO A JOB AND DO IT WELL?
* FOLKS... FOR THE MAJORITY OF US... COLLEGE WAS LITTLE MORE THAN AN EXPENSIVE PARTY. MOST OF US COULD HAVE LEARNED JUST AS MUCH - OR NEARLY AS MUCH - VIA UTILIZING THE LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY AND PERHAPS ACCESSING "FREE COURSES FROM TOP UNIVERSITIES" VIA VIDEO.
For example, according to a March report by Child Trends, based on 2015 data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 21% of Hispanic fourth-grade students were deemed “proficient” in reading. This is bad news.
* IT IS. THE QUESTION IS... IS IT THE SCHOOLS OR THE STUDENTS... THE TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS OR THE PARENTS.
A fourth-grader’s reading level is a key indicator of whether he or she will graduate from high school.
The situation is worse for African-Americans: A mere 18% were considered “proficient” in reading by fourth grade.
* LET'S PONDER FOR A MOMENT, FOLKS: WHICH IDEOLOGY IS DOMINANT WITHIN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM (AND FOR THAT MATTER THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM)? IS IT... LIBERALISM... OR IS IT CONSERVATISM? WOULD YOU GUESS MOST TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS (AND FOR THAT MATTER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS) ARE REPUBLICANS... OR DEMOCRATS?
An analysis of the NAEP data by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reports: “It’s easy to look at this report and despair. It puts front and center the fact that too many of our nation’s young people are failing to achieve their potential, and that African-American students are disproportionately impacted by the shortcomings in our education system.”
* OR... FLIP-SIDE... THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY PRONE TO SCREW AROUND IN SCHOOL AND NOT VALUE ACADEMIC EDUCATION?
* SOMEHOW I DOUBT WILLIAMS IS GONNA THROW IN ANYTHING ABOUT ASIANS AND HOW THEY DO IN SCHOOL... THAT DATA WOULD TEND TO COUNTER THE "RACIST SYSTEM" ARGUMENT - UNLESS WILLIAMS IS SAYING ASIANS NEVER FACED DISCRIMINATION AND ARE BELOVED BY "THE WHITE POWER STRUCTURE."
The problem isn’t limited to minority students. Only 46% of white fourth-graders — and 35% of fourth-graders of all races — were judged “proficient” in reading in 2015.
* AGREED; IT'S PATHETIC. (AND AGAIN... WHO HAS BEEN RUNNING THE SCHOOLS? HAS IT BEEN THOSE EVIL REPUBLICANS?)
In general, American students are outperformed by students abroad.
* YEP. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. (WELL... EVERYONE WHO KNOWS "STUFF" IN GENERAL KNOWS THIS.)
According to the most recent Program for International Student Assessment, a series of math, science and reading tests given to 15-year-olds around the world, the U.S. placed 17th among the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in reading.
* SO THE INCOMPETENT LIBERALS WHO RUN AMERICA'S SCHOOLS SCREW WHITE KIDS TOO - WHAT A SURPRISE... "NOT!"
In other words, in addition to America’s unsettling racial achievement gaps in education (white fourth-graders outperform Hispanic and black fourth-graders in every state that has appropriate data) there are far too many white students not performing at grade level.
* BUT... BACK TO THE "IT'S RACISM!" ARGUMENT THAT WILLIAMS IS CLEARLY ADVANCING...
* COULD IT BE THAT BY AND LARGE THE WHITE KIDS ARE JUST... SMARTER?
* HEY... A BLACK FRIEND OF MINE PUBLICLY (ON FB) IMPLIED JUST THE OTHER DAY THAT WITHOUT BLACKS, AMERICAN SPORTS WOULD BE A JOKE. SO... BEFORE ANYONE GETS ALL "OUTRAGED" ABOUT MY "SMARTER" REMARK... PUT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF "WHY IS THE NBA MOSTLY BLACK," ETC.
(HINT: I DOUBT IT'S BECAUSE THE NBA IS "RACIST" AGAINST WHITE BASKETBALL PLAYERS.)
* IF IT'S "RACIST" TO QUESTION IF WHITES MIGHT NOT BE MORE INTELLIGENT THAN BLACKS (STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, ONE "GROUP" vs. OTHER "GROUPS"), WAS IT ALSO "RACIST" FOR MY BLACK FRIEND TO COMMENT ON... THE OBVIOUS... AS IT APPLIES TO SPORTS?
* FURTHERMORE... IS IT "RACIST" OF ME TO SUGGEST THAT IT'S NOT JUST LUCK - NOR ANTI-WHITE "RACISM" - THAT LEAVES WHITES GETTING THEIR ASSES KICKED ACADEMICALLY BY ASIANS IN TERMS OF "DISPROPORTIONALITY?"
(AND LET'S THROW IN JEWS FOR GOOD MEASURE.)
Also buried in these troubling numbers are the big differences in reading among minorities from state to state: In Alabama, Hispanic fourth-graders are reading more than two grade levels below Hispanic fourth-graders in Florida.
* AND WHITES IN ALABAMA vs. FLORIDA? (AND ASIANS... AND...)
The difference in reading levels between minority students in different states offers an important clue about why minority reading levels are lagging. Generally, states with the highest proportion of low-income minority students do the worst, according to Child Trends.
* WHY IS HE FOCUSING ON "MINORITIES" INSTEAD OF JUST... STUDENTS?
And there is no question about the difference in poverty rates among children of different races. Poverty rates among black (37.1%) and Hispanic children (31.9%) are nearly three times the rate for white children (12.3%).
* ILLEGITIMACY RATES ARE HIGHER AS WELL...
Another factor affecting poor performance among minority students is persistent segregation.
According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, between 2000 and 2014 “the percentage of all K-12 public schools that had high percentages of poor and Black or Hispanic students grew from 9% to 16%,” noting that “75% to 100% of the students were Black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch — a commonly used indicator of poverty.”
* PERHAPS THEIR PARENTS SHOULD GET MARRIED... AND GET JOBS... (JUST SAYIN'...!!!) AND BTW... MY "CRITIQUE" IS COLOR-BLIND; APPLIES TO ANY AND ALL RACES, RELIGIONS, WHATEVER...
(*SPITTING ON THE GROUND*)
The GAO report added: “These schools offered disproportionately fewer math, science, and college preparatory courses and had disproportionately higher rates of students who were held back in ninth grade, suspended, or expelled.”
* AGAIN... IS THIS "DISPROPORTIONALITY" BASED UPON BEHAVIOR...??? IF SO...
* AS TO THE "FEWER MATH, SCIENCE, AND COLLEGE PREP COURSES," DIDN'T WILLIAMS START OUT WITH "MILLIONS OF BLACK AND HISPANIC STUDENTS IN U.S. SCHOOLS SIMPLY AREN'T TAUGHT TO READ WELL ENOUGH TO FLOURISH ACADEMICALLY?"
* SO... LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT: THEY CAN'T READ... YET LET'S PILE ON THE MATH... SCIENCE... AND COLLEGE PREP COURSES?
* SERIOUSLY, FOLKS... THIS IS WHY I STARTED OFF WRITING, "FRANKLY, FOLKS, I LOOK UPON JUAN WILLIAMS AS A BIT OF A CLOWN."
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the December 2015 law that replaced No Child Left Behind, individual states, not the federal government, decide how to hold accountable schools with a disproportionate number of failing students. For black and Hispanic students falling behind at an early age, their best hope is for every state, no matter its minority-student poverty rate, to take full responsibility for all students who aren’t making the grade — and get those students help now.
* UM... BUT... JUAN...
* IF IT WAS THAT SIMPLE... WOULDN'T THE FINE LIBERALS IN CHARGE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION HAVE... DONE SO... ALREADY?
* I SWEAR TO GOD... JUAN WILLIAMS HAS THE INTELLECTUAL FIREPOWER OF A BROKEN GUN.
That means adopting an attitude of urgency when it comes to saving a child’s education.
* UH-HUH... "URGENCY." (THAT'S SPELLED U-R-G-E-N-C-Y.)
(*ROLLING MY EYES*)
Specifically, it requires cities and states to push past any union rules that protect under-performing schools and bad teachers.
* Er.. UH... UM... AND BY "SPECIFICALLY" YOU OBVIOUSLY MEAN THE RULES YOU... UH... HAVEN'T POINTED TO "SPECIFICALLY?"
(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)
Urgency also means increasing options for parents, from magnet to charter schools.
Embracing competition among schools is essential to heading off complacency based on a few positive signs.
* YOU'LL GET NO ARGUMENT FROM ME, JUAN!