April 25, 2011

A retired teacher speaks out

From the Boston Globe:
A lesson in Advanced mis-Placement 
By Junia Yearwood 
THE AP English test in May, 2009 marked the end of a tortuous journey. We teachers served breakfast, gave a rousing pep talk, and the students trooped into the English High School auditorium to battle the exam. 
“What the hell am I doing in AP?’’ Veronica (all students’ names have been changed) cried the next day when the class reconvened. 
The outburst shattered the stillness of my 12th grade classroom, and all heads turned in Veronica’s direction at the back of the class. Her eyes blazing red and her face taut with anger, she continued to vent her frustration at her forced retention in an assigned Advanced Placement class despite her repeated requests for a transfer. ... 
Nevertheless, the majority voiced varying degrees of Veronica’s anger. She railed against the injustice of being denied a transfer from the class and her total lack of preparation for the academically rigorous course. She believed that the D for English on her last report card in 11th grade was a clear indication of her ongoing struggle to achieve proficiency in standard English. Haitian Creole was her first language. 
For the four years I taught the AP English and composition course at English High, many of my students were victims of the AP mania that had invaded the system. Suddenly, officials had recognized the dearth of faces of color in AP classes and the drive to augment the AP minority population went into high gear. 
The College Board and sympathetic philanthropic rescuers rushed in to solve the problem by dangling the carrot of grant money, and the feeding frenzy was on. AP classes sprouted and multiplied across all disciplines. AP scouts scoured students’ report cards hunting for qualifying scores; teacher recommendations were solicited for students with the “potential’’ to do AP work, and the nominees were summarily conscripted. 
Even though students had marked deficiencies in basic reading and writing skills, and little desire to work hard, and even though they made repeated requests for transfers, the dragooning of students into my AP course persisted. 
... I often wondered what parents would say if they knew that many of my AP graduates were placed in no-credit, remedial reading and writing courses their freshman year in college, and that, in spite of our school’s “underperforming status,’’ as designated by the state Department of Education, our AP enrollment was second only to our city’s prestigious exam schools. 
I wonder if an impartial jury would hold me, the teacher, solely responsible for my students’ failure to conquer the AP test and side with one of my colleagues who said that, if my students were not performing well in my course and on the test, then I needed to check my classroom practice. 
But mostly I worry about Veronica’s rage at being used in an AP numbers game. 
Junia Yearwood is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. 

I looked into AP trends a couple of years ago in VDARE. Among Asians, 64% scored 3 (out of 5) or higher on 2008 AP tests. Among whites, 62%. Among Hispanics (excluding the Spanish AP test), 35%. Among blacks, 26%. (Hmmmhhmm, Asians > whites > Hispanics > blacks ... where have we seen that pattern before?)

But Asians take almost three times as many AP tests as whites. Judging from the regional differences in white AP test-taking, I suspect whites could double the number of tests they take and still stay above 50% passing.

My general impression is that in Red States where there aren't many Asians to get the AP ball rolling, more whites should take more AP tests. And Red States haven't hit complete diminishing returns among Non-Asian Minorities yet, either.

Advanced Placement tests are College Board product. Not surprisingly, they are more popular where the College Board's SAT college entrance test is more popular than the ACT college entrance test, a gap that matches up pretty well with the Blue and Red states. But there's no ACT competitor for the APs, so Red State kids are simply less likely to take AP tests.

On the other hand, in Boston, of all places, pretty much everybody who could pass an AP test has heard all about AP by now, so these kind of programs to shove even more NAMs into AP classes and tests are predictably just a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

50 comments:

sabril said...

Probably if folks like Veronica fail English in college, the liberals will blame it on the racist Boston school system for pushing them into AP English.

Geoff Matthews said...

I sympathize with Veronica. The school is using her placement for grant money, her education be damned.

dearieme said...

It would be a kindness to the pupils to have them take IQ tests so that those not equipped for advanced classes could be directed to classes suited to their intellects. Such testing might also identify clever pupils who have not been identified on teacher's-pet criteria.

Mind you, IQ testing presumably offers little when the problem is that the pupils lack an interest in the subject or are disinclined to work at it. For those problems you presumably need Tiger Mothers.

josh said...

Education can certainly be cruel toward minorities. Its almost a slave-system. The bigwigs want an increase---ANY INCREASE--in grad rates,AP classes, test scores etc. Thye will be rewarded for this. So they do all kinds of nutty things to make school ever more tyrannical,irrelevant,pointless and mind-numbingly boring,especially for blacks and latins. I am very sympathetic to this girl in the article. Maybe she has "ganas" (lol) and wont drop out. But many will. Here in Chicago,Rahm has hired a Haitian guy,Jean-Paul Something,as schools head. He is known for being confrontational,tough & hardheaded,especially with teachers. However he has a generous spirit,as his spending lavishly on some kind of conference at a luxury resort demonstrates. His job is to raise test scores and grad rates-period.By anymeans necessary! What the students learn,who cares?? And white students? Double who cares??? (Prediction:I see Jean-Paul winding up in some type of sex scandal,with a woman the average guy would look at and say,"Uhmm...why her?" But thats just my opinion. It just seems to go like that sometimes.)

Anonymous said...

I'm just marveling at the fact this item appeared in the Globe.

Svigor said...

The first four paragraphs read like one of Tim Wise's just-so stories. Just sayin'. But don't mind me, I'm a cynic.

rob said...

I hope the girl in the story is also in advanced math. It would be a shame for her to do well in easier classes, graduate, and go on to respectable lower middle employment. Much better that she fails out of harder classes so administrators can feel non-racist.

If the nation lasts long enough, one day liberals will apologize to NAMs for the medium-soft, perhaps firm yet yielding, bigotry of high expectations. If one were inclined to conspiracy theories (hi, Whisky!) one could spin a few about keeping the brighter blacks and hispanics from succeeding so they'll sympathize with their dumb coethinics and organize them for white progs.

However, I think liberals really do believe that blacks are dumb because they weren't in AP classes, so they're correcting the problem. If the minorities want to transfer to classes they can handle, well it just shows how institutional racists have programmed them to fail.

Anonymous said...

By the standards of urban public schools, aren't the Boston schools pretty good?

Numeratus said...

FYI: The educratic phrase "differential instruction" refers most specifically to Veronica's situation: the shoe-horning of unprepared minorities into advanced classes.

Can you imagine what that's like in mathematics? I doubt that Ms. Yearwood received completely blank compositions, whereas I had to accord points to a student for merely signing her name at the top of her exams.

Anonymous said...

"My general impression is that in Red States where there aren't many Asians to get the AP ball rolling, more whites should take more AP tests."

And the point of that is exactly what? So Harvard and Princeton will feel compelled to accept more white high school students from Red States? Riight.

The best thing for White students to do is identify the academic field they enjoy most early on and do much more of it. Then they might actually find themselves accomplishing real higher learning in a well regarded state university instead of snoozing through Womyn's Studies 101 in the back row of some Harvard lecture hall.

Anonymous said...

Lay the blame for this at the feet of ultra-politicized Washington Post / Newsweek education correspondent Jay Matthews, whose idiotic semiannual rankings of top American high schools reflect not how many students *pass* AP (and IB) classes, but how many students *attempt* such classes.

Which is like ranking basketball teams not on how many shots go in, but on how many are attempted. And leads to perverse incentives like keeping poor Veronica in AP English. She doesn't want to be there, her teacher doesn't want her to be there, it's not good for her to be there -- but Jay Matthews and other educrats want her there for their own egocentric and career-advancing reasons, so suffer needlessly she will.

David said...

OT ?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13156817

"IQ tests measure motivation - not just intelligence"

Note the good quotes from Thompson at page bottom. "If an IQ test doesn't motivate someone then that is a good predictor in itself." Heh.

Anonymous said...

In America, all children are above average. Especially those who aren't.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You spend a lot of energy pointing out the realities of HBD and how the world works. Thanks.

But what about a real solution now that intelligent people know that power of genes?

It's eugenics.

The biggest and most influential advance over the next 100 years will be expansion of eugenics.

Richard Hoste recently wrote a nice article on it:

http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/the-coming-chinese-superstate-richard-lynns-eugenics/

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You spend a lot of energy pointing out the realities of HBD and how the world works. Thanks.

But what about a real solution now that intelligent people know that power of genes?

It's eugenics. It's the answer to a better world.

The biggest and most influential advance over the next 100 years will be expansion of eugenics.

Richard Hoste recently wrote a nice article on it:

http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/04/the-coming-chinese-superstate-richard-lynns-eugenics/

Kiwiguy said...

***Note the good quotes from Thompson at page bottom. ***

I think Thompson was involved in the 'smart fractions' paper with Rindermann. He also recently contributed an article on "Richard Lynn’s contributions to personality and intelligence" in a special issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

Anonymous said...

BTW, on a noted iSteve comment-bait subject, Trump is saying that

Manhattan real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended. ...

"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said
...
Obama's 2008 campaign did not release his college transcripts, and in his best-selling memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama indicated he hadn't always been an academic star.


I doubt that Trump will be able to smoke out the records; Obama has stonewalled this long, and the press is in no mood to commit any journalism.

airtommy said...

From the above Richard Hoste article:

"The biggest victory for negative eugenics has been the liberalization of abortion laws. Although justified as based on a “woman’s right to choose,” those who have unintended pregnancies are usually of low intelligence and those with anti-social tendencies. Thus, increasing the availability of abortion is eugenic. Those who are concerned about good breeding should support causes traditionally associated with the left like abortion on demand and making birth control freely available."

I agree. This abortion issue is where I think the GOP voter base has completely lost their minds.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Note the good quotes from Thompson at page bottom. "If an IQ test doesn't motivate someone then that is a good predictor in itself." Heh.

I have long maintained, at this blog, that IQ must surely correlate very well with personality traits like attention span, focus, drive, stick-to-it-itiveness, and the ability to get into the zone, tune out all the distractions, put on the blinders, settle into tunnel vision mode, and see the damned project [or problem] through to its completion [or solution].

Almost sort of a simmering [but harness-able] intellectual anger, if you will.

Anonymous said...

PSA: Obama graduated in the top 16% of Harvard Law School.

Truth said...

"I doubt that Trump will be able to smoke out the records; Obama has stonewalled this long, and the press is in no mood to commit any journalism"

Commit to 'journalism' or Felony Invasion of Privacy?

Truth said...

"I have long maintained, at this blog, that IQ must surely correlate very well with personality traits like attention span, focus, drive, stick-to-it-itiveness, and the ability to get into the zone, tune out all the distractions, put on the blinders, settle into tunnel vision mode, and see the damned project [or problem] through to its completion [or solution]."

Oh, that's beautiful Luke, Muhammad Ali was a genius!

RKU said...

Airtommy: This abortion issue is where I think the GOP voter base has completely lost their minds.

Actually, the possible ideological origins of the endless Abortion Wars in America---which no one ever remotely envisioned until they began---may be quite amusing.

Now it's well known that the early pro-birth-control/pro-abortion leaders were mostly liberal eugenicists, who worried that absent such policies the less smart (and less white) elements of the population would eventually swamp them and wreck the country.

But some years back, I came across a fascinating mention that Pat Robertson, while in his very early cable station days in the Deep South, supposedly told his listeners that the main reason he opposed abortion was that he feared whites would use it and the blacks wouldn't, and they'd all get racially swamped. This makes perfect sense since back then only strong Catholics opposed abortion (and birth control) for religious reasons and Protestants had no real problem with those measures. A further confirmation of this came a few years ago when Robertson carelessly let slip that he actually supported the forced-abortion policy of the Chinese government since it made good practical sense in such an overcrowed country. This hardly seems the position of someone who actually believed that abortion violates Divine Law. My impression is that all the other early anti-abortion Protestant preachers also came from racially-polarized Southern states with huge black populations. Interesting coincidence that...

So: the early pro-abortion leaders took that position because they wanted to maintain or increase the white fraction of the population. And (maybe) the early anti-abortion leaders ALSO took their position because they wanted to maintain or increase the white fraction of the population. Perhaps they should have all just gotten together, commissioned some detailed market research, and then formed a united front or something.

Given the massive repression of explicit racial/HBD views in America over the last half-century, it's not too surprising that they might quietly pop up in all sorts of unexpected places and on all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues...

As a further intriguing example, I remember that soon after staunch-liberal Matt Yglesias first moved to DC, he announced that not only had he done a complete 180 on the theoretical issue of gun control, but that he personally very much wanted to own a hand gun. Ha, ha, ha...

Mitch said...

Op ed documenting Summit's (from Waiting for Superman) terrible performance on AP and state assessment tests: Forcing kids onto the College Track can be harmful

Steve, this paper on the reasons for Constrained Academic Curriculum will add some history as to why students are forced into these tracks. Basically, when we gave them the choice, the students didn't choose in politically correct racial proportions, so the schools were accused (and often sued) for racism.

When you consider how much money is being poured into the College Board for manifestly unprepared (and often illiterate) students to take the test, it is too weep.

And yes, the Anonymous who blames Jay Mathews is correct. It's not preference for the CB that leads to the testing, but rather the amount of funding the schools (charter and public) can get to pay for unqualified students to take the tests.

Kiwiguy said...

***Given the massive repression of explicit racial/HBD views in America over the last half-century, it's not too surprising that they might quietly pop up in all sorts of unexpected places and on all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues...***

In that respect, Levitt's 2001 paper on a possible abortion/crime link might be seen as a bit of a dog whistle for the likes of Robertson:

"Levine et al. [1996] found that the drop in births associated with
abortion legalization was not uniform across all groups. They
estimated that the drop in births was roughly twice as great for
teenage and nonwhite mothers as it was for the nonteen, white
population."

Anonymous said...

PSA: Obama graduated in the top 16% of Harvard Law School.

The interesting thing is that he's never really demonstrated extremely high academic performance before or since.

The unspoken rap on Obama is "affirmative action hire". I suspect his grades at Oxy and Columbia would tend to support that notion. His grades at HLS are pretty much his only defense against it.

The disconnect between his performance before and after HLS with his performance at HLS makes me think there's something screwy going on there.

Anonymous said...

Commit to 'journalism' or Felony Invasion of Privacy?

The press could whip up enough frenzy to force the Obama campaign to release the information if they wanted to without having to resort to black bag jobs. it's pretty typical for candidates to release this information anyway.

Obama has probably the least known background of any president in decades. You might have to go back to the 19th century and a much different press age to find a president with less solid information about his non-public biography. The press is resolutely incurious, and his friends from his formative years of community organizing and college are engaging in a conspiracy of silence.

Svigor said...

PSA: Obama graduated in the top 16% of Harvard Law School.

I thought it was to 40%. Do we have the final verdict on this MCL in the past thing yet?

Anonymous said...

It was settled in an old blog post.

eh said...

Haitian Creole was her first language.

What the hell is 'Veronica' doing in America?

elvisd said...

"p ed documenting Summit's (from Waiting for Superman) terrible performance on AP and state assessment tests: Forcing kids onto the College Track can be harmful."

Definitely, as in harmful to our economy. We are beset with millions of teens knocking at the wrong door. I'm not sure how much there is in cause and effect, but there there seems to be a strong correlation between the narrowing of our economy/hollowing out of manufacturing and the pushing of anyone who manages to fall out of the womb and keep breathing into a university direction, which also meant the gutting of vocational ed and even higher level applied science in high schools.

"Probably if folks like Veronica fail English in college, the liberals will blame it on the racist Boston school system for pushing them into AP English."

That will be the next blame game. Right now, they're into the phase of blaming us for supposed low expectations-see their temporary alliance with the anti-public school right. We teachers are apparently a bunch of lazy shits.

As this country transitions more to a NAM population in public schools, the next education fad will probably be to find creative ways of busting our balls for "failing" said population.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

1. Re: eugenics. There is a way to go about this. Dismantle public education, dysgenic welfare policies, Title VII (and lots of other things). Let the market form a hierarchical society where people can find their own level. Women will be forced to choose breeding partners based on substantive skill sets instead of hustlers with connections or street-corner lotharios.

2. Re: Obama. His career track utterly fails to match his supposed academic performance. Where are this guy's crack legal skills? He can't litigate, he can't put together deals, he's not a specialist in a single area. The Senate was his last gasp before some serious financial problems.

But then everything worked out fine for the guy with the right skin tone and effusive voice.

dcite said...

"PSA: Obama graduated in the top 16% of Harvard Law School.

4/25/11 9:22 PM"


You have the records? The grades? The professorial evaluations? Believe it when I see it. No legal writings to his credit despite being "editor" (AA no doubt) of the Harvard Law Review.

Anonymous said...

some years back, I came across a fascinating mention that Pat Robertson, while in his very early cable station days in the Deep South, supposedly told his listeners that the main reason he opposed abortion was that he feared whites would use it and the blacks wouldn't, and they'd all get racially swamped.



Yeah, but you tend to read such reliable sources as The Nation, so I'm inclined to doubt this second or third or fourth-hand report.

Anonymous said...

The biggest victory for negative eugenics has been the liberalization of abortion laws. Although justified as based on a “woman’s right to choose,” those who have unintended pregnancies are usually of low intelligence and those with anti-social tendencies. Thus, increasing the availability of abortion is eugenic.


Eugenic <> good.

Richard Hoste <> conservative.

<> = computerese for "not equal".

Chicago said...

Follow the money, follow the government edicts. At the other end of the scale some years ago the schools here were accused of labeling way too many children as being special needs students and strong-arming them into classes designated as such. It seems the schools received more money from the government; more special needs students, more money. It all sounds familiar.

Kylie said...

I'd feel sorry for Veronica if she were in Haiti. As it is, I feel sorry for us.

Sheila said...

"eh" said "What the hell was Veronica doing in America?"

I was wondering when someone would make that essential point, as I meandered through too many of the the usual "soft bigotry of low expectations" posts.

helene edwards said...

Don't feel bad for Veronica. Rage alone means she has "leadership skills," and qualifies her for a nice gov't sinecure.

AMac said...

There was another Op-Ed on a related subject, in the other Blue State elite paper owned by the Times Co.

--- begin fair use excerpt ---

The Limits of School Reform by Joe Nocera.

I find myself haunted by a 13-year-old boy named Saquan Townsend... The article, by Jonathan Mahler, was about the heroic efforts of Ramón González, the principal of M.S. 223, a public middle school in the South Bronx, to make his school a place where his young charges can get a decent education and thus, perhaps, a better life.

[snip]

At its core, the reform movement believes that great teachers and improved teaching methods are all that’s required to improve student performance, so that’s all the reformers focus on. But it takes a lot more than that. Which is where Saquan comes in. His part of the story represents difficult truths that the reform movement has yet to face squarely — and needs to.

Saquan lands at M.S. 223 because his family has been placed in a nearby homeless shelter...

[brilliant impoverished NAM student who doesn't succeed, snip]

Yet the reformers act as if a student’s home life is irrelevant. “There is no question that family engagement can matter,” said [reformer and former NYC schools chancellor Joel] Klein when I spoke to him. “But they seem to be saying that poverty is destiny, so let’s go home. We don’t yet know how much education can overcome poverty,” he insisted — notwithstanding the voluminous studies that have been done on the subject. “To let us off the hook prematurely seems, to me, to play into the hands of the other side.”

That last sentence strikes me as the key to the reformers’ resistance: To admit the importance of a student’s background, they fear, is to give ammo to the enemy — which to them are their social-scientist critics and the teachers’ unions...

--- end fair use excerpt ---

Californian said...

Hmmmhhmm, Asians > whites > Hispanics > blacks ... where have we seen that pattern before?

Surely, Steve, we are not talking about (oh my!) IQ?!

The horror that dare not speak its own name!

Well, horror to the multicult...

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you have seen this:

Does the SAT Have A Racial Bent?

"For years, the SAT has come under attack for having a certain bent. From the Harvard Educational Review to the Princeton Review, the measurement tool has been called a "white preference test."

Last year, Harvard published a study arguing that SAT questions in the verbal section favored white students by using language with which they were more familiar compared to other non-white groups. The study said black students of equal academic aptitude scored lower on the section, Education Week reported."

Full Article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/25/sat-system-needs-reform_n_853518.html

RKU said...

Anonymous: Yeah, but you tend to read such reliable sources as The Nation, so I'm inclined to doubt this second or third or fourth-hand report.

Ha, ha, ha...

Just because I myself saw Robertson on TV a few years ago explicitly stating that he supported the forced-abortion policies of the Chinese government "because China was overcrowded" provides absolutely no clue as to whether his militant anti-abortion position in America actually derives from Divine Law or other, more "practical" considerations.

Ha, ha, ha...

Baloo said...

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I presume that birth control in general is dysgenic as it's practiced in the US, considering the White birth rate. And part of that birth control is abortions, but I don't know in what proportion. Therefore, I don't know if abortions are eugenic or dysgenic. Do the poor have abortions at a greater rate than everybody else, or do they just go ahead and have the kids and get paid more? Are there statistics?

ben tillman said...

Last year, Harvard published a study arguing that SAT questions in the verbal section favored white students by using language with which they were more familiar compared to other [sic] non-white groups.

The blind leading the blind.

Anonymous said...

Here in Oakland our educators took a different approach - Ebonics.

Veronica would probably have enjoyed studying English here much more than in stuffy old Boston where they still believe in outmoded notions like grammar.

Albertosaurus

dcs said...

The rate of abortion among Blacks and Hispanics, especially the former, is higher than it is among whites.

Fred said...

The original NYT article about Ramón González was full of softballs for Steve (González putting his own kid in a private school; the apathy of his students' parents, and their apparent allergy to books, etc.).

David said...

>what about a real solution now that intelligent people know that power of genes? It's eugenics.<

One of my favorite writers, Mencken, stated flatly (in Notes on Democracy) that civic improvement is accomplished fundamentally by good breeding, not education. A good electorate, consisting of smart self-responsible people (he called them libertarian - small-l), is created over several generations.

There is no reason why Moloch has to be in charge of eugenics. People can pay, did pay, and still are paying (in some small circles) attention to selecting a mate based on sensible ideas about fit breeding. This ought to be incentivized, not damned.

Despite all the shaggy dog stories we are told, the work of civilization is significantly transgenerational, if you want a high-falutin' term; and includes nature-work as well as nurture-work.

Anonymous said...

"Obama has probably the least known background of any president in decades. You might have to go back to the 19th century and a much different press age to find a president with less solid information about his non-public biography."

Well, with the rising brown tide in the electorate, expect worse than Obama in the near future. He wasn't elected by the kind of Americans who raised our generation -- he was elected by Great Society welfare bonus babies, anti-Western indoctrinated college students, immigrants, and unionized public sector employees. And there will only be more of these in the decades to come. America the free market democracy is finished -- the tipping point was the election of George W Bush, who paved the way for Obama.