Bad Teacher

I just read “The Battle For Room 314”, Ed Boland’s account of a year teaching at a NYC high school. Boland had been an admissions officer, done fundraising for nonprofits – but wanted to DO GOOD, and of course go broke in the process.

The dean of the Harvard graduate school of education praises it, as does the former head of the Ford Foundation. So you know it’s a bad book. Sheesh, Boland only taught for a year, and he wasn’t particularly successful. He didn’t have great personal force, couldn’t control the kids, didn’t realize when they were lying to him. Came to hate them. But I didn’t expect to learn anything about educating kids- I wanted to see what page the educrats are on lately, just I have a green chili cheeseburger every ten years or so just to see if they’re still nasty.

Apparently they haven’t learned a thing. Certainly Boland hasn’t, other than than finding out that he likes being paid enough to live on in New York, in a job where people won’t call him a ‘turd burglar’.

He recommends Pre-K and school integration [works in Berkeley, right? no? they must not be liberal enough!] . He thinks poverty is the root of educational failure. He’s so dumb that he talks about the educational magic distilled by Finland and South Korea. The idea that being Finnish or Korean has anything to do with it is beyond his imagination.

What possible observation or event, up to and including Ragnarok, could ever make him come to any other conclusion? He learned nothing, understood nothing, denied everything he saw or experienced.

Sure, we have an intractably low-functioning underclass – two of them now! – but we also have a crazy overclass, and that’s worse. We have a problem.

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149 Responses to Bad Teacher

  1. reiner Tor says:

    My experience in Hungary after the fall of communism was that a surprisingly large number of guys writing bullshit about the virtues of communism and the imminent collapse of capitalism changed their minds and came out as anti-communists.

    Come the Revolution, this guy might become a Social Injustice Warrior denouncing anyone who denies the effects of heredity.

    • et.cetera says:

      I hear this a lot from people who lived in communist countries through the 1980s and 1990s. I would not say that they changed “their minds” though, but that agency too seems to be unevenly distributed. Anecdotally, I’d say it’s skewed strongly to the right.

      • reiner Tor says:

        My guess is that most of them had never been communist true believers, just opportunistically were undermining the system from the inside, as people have sarcastically remarked since the 1990. In other words, they were in it for the bucks. It must also be mentioned that the communist system often knowingly co-opted non-communists (who were nevertheless expected to at least occasionally praise the system), and it did offer them some things. For example the school curriculum was surprisingly nationalistic (though obviously trying to steer away from the delicate topic of Hungarian ethnic minorities being oppressed in neighboring communist regimes), and so these people might have felt that they were also pushing the regime in a direction that was more compatible with their worldviews.

        Since many of the pro-communist journalists and academics have chosen leftist or liberal points of view after the fall of communism, those who chose hardcore nationalism or rightism in the 1990s (which didn’t even pay that well until maybe 1998) must have had a natural inclination towards these views. Anyway, that’s my guess.

        • R. says:

          What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

          Also, said oppression was a pale shadow of the late 19th century magyarization policies, during which children were beaten in schools for speaking their birth languages, there was no chance to use anything else than Hungarian in official use and minorities were not involved in local administrations, at all.

          After WWII, the only place that really was even trying to oppress Hungarians was Causeascu’s Romania, which closed their Hungarian-language universities and curtailed minority rights.

          Other communist countries allowed school education in Hungarian, use of said language in contact with officialdom in places with >20% Hungarians and so on, despite how many disadvantages not speaking the official language of the country subjects someone to.

        • Romanian says:

          Romania was the same. A lot of nationalism into the stew (which I consider a good thing, as opposed to following the Muscovite International line of universalism), while ignoring the plight of Romanians in other lands. For instance, Ceausescu had an agreement with the Bulgarians by which the government adopted the view that there are no Romanians south of the Danube, even though there were plenty, and not just the related populations like megleno-Romanians etc.

          In our defense, let’s remember that there was a Hungarian Autonomous area in the middle of the country for over 20 years. And that the Hungarian minority, in general, had a population increase similar to that of Romanians.

          • reiner Tor says:

            Thanks for your thoughtful answer.

            The Hungarian Autonomous Area was I think forced on Romania by the Soviets, but in 1957 or 1958 the Hungarian Party leadership chose to allow Romania abolish it, after which the Soviets didn’t feel the need to intervene. The reason for that was that after the 1956 revolution the Hungarian leadership felt the need to raise living standards, and asked for financial assistance from fellow communist governments. With the exception of East Germany and Czechoslovakia (and maybe Yugoslavia, though the Yugoslavs weren’t really considered Eastern Bloc and didn’t provide much assistance), these countries had lower living standards than Hungary, so after a year or so their governments understandably started to raise objections to this. The Hungarian Party leadership then offered the Romanians to give the green light to abolishing the Autonomous Area.

            Which makes it all the more curious that this government could attract nationalists at all: not only was it a puppet of the Soviets, but also sold out the Hungarian minority so quickly when it felt convenient.

            I guess the Hungarian government was much like the Romanian in the sense that while it neglected Hungarians living under fellow communist regimes, it forced Magyarization within the country as much as possible. Hungarians usually don’t even consider it quite nationalistic, because they regarded all minorities living in post-1945 Hungary as settler minorities or immigrants (and to a large extent they were – Slovakians in Békés, or Germans in Tolna, for example), whose ethnic rights were considered as more restricted. (Mind you, the treatment of Romanians 1940-44 or even before 1918 wasn’t exemplary, either.)

    • Reiner: Are you actually Hungarian? I need to talk to a native about Hungarian literature. Email me at the address on my home page if you have time. Thanks!

    • All it will take is a scientific pronouncement that we can fix stupid and all the true believers in equality can jump off their present bandwagon and hop on to a new one. Just a hypothetical possibility for now but some very sharp people are proposing solutions within the next decade. It reminds of the quote on the three stages of scientific discovery.
      1) first people deny it is true
      2) then they deny it is important
      3) finally they credit the wrong person

      Very good analogy to the folks who once were communists hating it as soon as it was popular and convenient. People can hate racism and anyone mentioning that there are differences between groups but consider what their new ideology can be if the next generation can be genetically engineered to be like the children of Garrison Keillors’ Lake Wobegon, all of them above average. Why they can all still be Social Justice Warriors, but this time they can admit what once they vehemently denied.

  2. Greying Wanderer says:

    “we also have a crazy overclass”

    The narrative is rigidly policed by the media. The media is owned by a handful of billionaires. So either they don’t care or the narrative is useful to them in some way e.g. keeping the supply of cheap labor flowing.

    • pyrrhus says:

      Yes, everything seems to come back to the cheap labor billionaires and their henchmen. Even robotics doesn’t seem to change their fixation with cultural marxist insanity….

      • spottedtoad says:

        It’s not cheap labor they want. It’s pliant customers.

        • Economic Sophisms says:

          I think this ‘customer’ aspect is a big part of it. Assuming you didn’t mean welfare clients, which is also a factor. Sailer has written about how corporations are hungry for more warm bodies to sell trash bags and paper towels to. Hard to grow revenue with a stable population level.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          It’s obviously cheap labor.

          How does off-shoring increase customers when the people working in Apple’s Chinese factories can’t afford the products they make?

          However cheap labor reduces the amount of spending money people have so total revenue starts to goes down – so then they need more customers/revenue..

          However importing more customers (aka more labor) reduces the amount of spending money even more.

          It’s a vicious cycle initially sparked by the desire for cheap labor.

          They are too greedy to see the obvious: wages = revenue.

          • R. says:

            How does off-shoring increase customers when the people working in Apple’s Chinese factories can’t afford the products they make?

            They can, generally, afford non-idiotically overpriced smartphones. In case you don’t know, there’s ~560 million smartphone users in China.

            And they also can afford Apple products. When Apple wasn’t selling them there in enough numbers, there was an entire cottage industry in the US that bought various devices in bulk, flew them to HK and then smuggled them over the border.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              “They can, generally, afford non-idiotically overpriced smartphones.”

              So they can’t afford the legal ones.

              • Carl says:

                You can buy a (legal!) fully functioning smartphone for 100 euros or less, if second-hand

          • Arshuni says:

            It is not the denominations you care about, but the relative distribution of money.

            If you already have a large amount of fixed money, X, and the money in actual circulation is left for you to decide, it may actually benefit you if the later is small, such that your relative worth is overwhelmingly large.

            The only reason you would want the wages and revenues to be more is if you wanted to change the relative distributions of money faster: this may sound great for people from the lower ranks, but on the top? Only if you were confident you could swallow up your competitors’ share. But your chair is already quite comfy, the status quo is fine.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              Yes, the alternative to short term greed may be their prime motivator is relative wealth thus the gradual necrosis spreading across the economy doesn’t overly concern them.

              I’m saying the gradual concentration of wealth at the top and the shrinkage in the middle is the cause of the necrosis.

              If a country goes from a middle class economy (lots of wealth in the middle) to the historical default plantation economy (all the wealth at the top) then huge swathes of the pre-existing economy are going to die off leaving only a subsistence economy at the bottom and a luxury economy at the top.

        • Johnny says:

          Pliant goyim!

    • Anonymous says:

      Who did Victorianism benefit? Maybe such overbearing public mores are just a natural feature of human behavior. Let’s not forget that journalists don’t have the privilege of speaking in private when they write, so they’re more likely than the rest of us to forget the difference between what you’re supposed to say about human behavior, and what human behavior actually is.

    • Oliver Cromwell says:

      Billionaires are unimportant.

      There are few barriers to entry for news media. The narrative isn’t policed by people who own media.

      • Erik Sieven says:

        that´s it. It rather a bottom-up than top-down process.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        1) If you look at who funds political candidates and who owns the media billionaires are obviously critical.

        2) There are massive barriers to entry for television – which is the key to herding the population..

        3) The narrative is policed by the media. So unless you believe thousands of journalists all over the western world suddenly independently decided that transphobia was a new thing you could lose your job over and at the same all the mainstream (aka bought) politicians all suddenly decided the same thing at the same time then the decision process occurred higher up at a node common to both.

        • Oliver Cromwell says:

          Funding of political candidates is unimportant. If you could buy the USA for what is spent on electoral campaigns, it is a strong signal that the market thinks the USA contains way less wealth that every other indicator suggests.

          I find it more likely that money spent on electoral campaigns does not buy the candidates.

          The narrative is decided by the official intellectual bodies – primarily the university system – and enforced mostly by social conformity within the media-governmental elite set and partly by regulation. Candidates shake down property-owners rather than property-owners buying candidates.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Wrong. Do I have to explain everything?

            • Oliver Cromwell says:


            • Oliver Cromwell says:

              OK that was passive-aggressive, which is bad. So I phrase it this way: I think it is reasonable to reply simply telling someone they are wrong if their post is obviously stupid; that is, if 80% of readers would see some logical or factual error (not just disagree with an opinion). If it’s not obvious, simply rude to imply it is, and I don’t think that, if I am wrong, it is obvious in this case why.

            • barbicane says:

              I would be interested in hearing your reasoning. Here’s my guess:

              The entire wealth in the United States doesn’t correspond to the value of any particular political office. United States GDP is about 17 trillion, but that doesn’t mean that the office of the President is worth 17 trillion a year.

              • Oliver Cromwell says:

                I didn’t specify presidential campaigns. The sum total spent on all elections is still tiny compared to the resources commanded by the candidates.

              • gcochran9 says:

                One can imagine two opposite situations: A. an innocent businessman is threatened by a powerful Congressman, and can only escape doom by making contributions. B a sinister businessman manages to bribe a congressman (or Prez) into doing something that benefits that sinister businessman while being bad for the country as a whole. And of course there are contributions made for non-economic reasons – which may dominate, in Presidential races

                I’ve seen both As and Bs: Bs are a hell of a lot more common. gasohol. Sugar. Carried interest. Very low marginal tax rates on billionaires that were sold as boosting the economy: didn’t work, but they’re still there. Zero Internet sales tax. Mass immunity for financial fraud after 2008. I don’t think that individual Congressmen get to be as powerful as they once were ( Wilbur Mills is dead) and someone like him doesn’t really need a lot of campaign contributions anyhow. Probably more important than campaign contributions is the ultimate apotheosis, where the Congressman turns into a lobbyist.

              • Oliver Cromwell says:

                I do not think most corruption is visible. It is hard to be visible corrupt.

                The examples you give are not obviously bought political rents, rather than simply government failures. A lot of people agree with gasohol, sugar protectionism, and tax cuts for the rich – a lot more people than benefit from them. Same thing for subsidies for renewable energy and healthcare reform.

                We can see that rich donors are not in control because such cases constitute almost all cases of potential corruption; there are essentially no examples of policies opposed by practically everyone being rammed through anyway. If rich people could buy candidates even when the policies they wanted faced strong public opposition, you would pay taxes to billionaires, rather than haggling about how much tax billionaires should pay to you.

              • gcochran9 says:

                The reason that we don’t have a negative capital gains tax for high-rollers is because they haven’t thought of it yet. I have spent years carefully not mentioning that possibility, and you had to let the cat out of the bag.
                You bastard.

                Maybe 1% of the country agrees with sugar protectionism. There are plenty of examples of policies opposed by most people, sometimes almost everyone, being enacted. In some cases it’s the money, other times it’s the current fashion among our ‘elites’. By the way, what passes for elites in this country is really pitiful.

              • Ilya says:

                You mean, something along those lines:

                Or something like Gore & Clintons’ Solyndra? Maybe focused on individuals vs corporate? I’d argue, the US already has something like that, de facto. The trick, perhaps, is to make it into a permanent arrangement.

              • gcochran9 says:

                The audit rate for big corporations has declined significantly: the Feds apparently don’t want the money.

                GE is a poster boy for tax avoidance, but thee are plenty of others. My favorite technique, for a multinational, is claiming that the key steps in product development were really performed in Ireland or Puerto Rico or the Cayman Islands – while simultaneously complaining about how dreadfully high the US corporate income tax rate is.

              • Ilya says:

                The other venue for negative tax rate is the global warming catastophe, the CO2 sequestration tech, product labeling, and tax laws and incentives, which create criminal frameworks like “carbon tax/credits.” The academic “scientist” mafia benefits from this scheme, along with lobbyists and multinational corps like GE. Solyndra was just a little experiment to demonstrate feasibility, I think.

              • gcochran9 says:

                If you think that academic scientists are making money out of carbon credits, you can surely give a few examples.

              • airgap says:

                Suppose I dig up N papers on the subject of how awesomely effective carbon credits are. Each paper contains a line of the form “This research was supported by NSF grant 0xDEADBEEF.” Would that count? What’s N?

              • gcochran9 says:

                No. How about this: admit that the whole idea that climate scientists are in it for the big money is horseshit? Mind you, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily correct.

              • reiner Tor says:

                “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

                I guess the salary in question doesn’t have to be a very high one. Also, compared to what? Where else could they find similarly paid and secure employment? It’s not like they could get many offers from the private sector.

                Of course, the fact that some people’s salaries depend on it being true doesn’t make anthropogenic climate change untrue.

              • Oliver Cromwell says:

                “Maybe 1% of the country agrees with sugar protectionism. There are plenty of examples of policies opposed by most people, sometimes almost everyone, being enacted.”

                According to this random website 61% of Americans support farm subsidies:

                “In some cases it’s the money, other times it’s the current fashion among our ‘elites’. By the way, what passes for elites in this country is really pitiful.”

                Democracy works, and gives a combination of dumb policies from the hind-brains of the masses, and evil policies from the fore-brains of the elite.

              • (Greg): “… the whole idea that climate scientists are in it for the big money is horseshit.’
                Academic fraud pays quite well, across disciplines. For example, Colleges of Education contribute nothing to teacher competence. Dunno what you call “big money” but $400 per hour (a professor’s salary divided by class hours per year) looks pretty good to me.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Want me to say it again? Horseshit !

              • ursiform says:

                “Dunno what you call “big money” but $400 per hour (a professor’s salary divided by class hours per year) looks pretty good to me.”

                For your next trick, why don’t you calculate what firemen make per hour for actually fighting fires, or infantrymen make per hour while actually in firefights.

                Did it not occur to you that climate researchers don’t do their research during the same hours they are in the classroom?

              • (Ursiform): “Did it not occur to you that climate researchers don’t do their research during the same hours they are in the classroom?”
                My calculation ($80,000/year)/(32 weeks per year x six hours per week) referred to Education Professor salaries. It did not include grants and consulting contracts for the design of culturally-sensitive Mathematics curriculum aimed at Filipino children, to take one real-world example.
                The budget for Colleges of Education is 90% fraud, since no statistical, empirical research indicates that education courses on a prospective teacher’s transcript contribute –anything– to student performance. Similarly, the core curriculum instruction budget at most universities is fraud if students do not have the option to earn credit by exam. If it is fraud for a mechanic to charge for the repair of a functional engine and if it is fraud for a physician to charge for the treatment of a healthy patient, then it is fraud for a teacher, school, school district, or government to bill students, parents, or taxpayers for the instruction of a student who does not need our help.

        • Zippy says:

          I don’t think that billionaires got together in a room and decided that transphobia was a new thing. I suspect that both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg (for example) are conventionally leftist on these issues, but if you had asked them ten years ago, neither would have had interesting opinions on the trans thing.

          Nor do I see how billionaires, in general, are benefited by the current trans-hysteria. Open borders, sure you can tell a story about how it makes billionaire-Americans better off. But the trans insanity? Nah.

          I think you’ve excluded a possibility — a sort of moral fad-ism. No, I don’t think the thousands of journalists came to the idea independently, but nor do I think it’s the result of SMERSH or THRUSH, or SPECTRE, or the Bilderberg Group. It’s just part of the Social Justice Cultural Marxist Virtue Signalling Hive Mind, which billionaires may well be a part of, but which they do not by any means direct.

  3. another fred says:

    “He learned nothing, understood nothing, denied everything he saw or experienced.”

    That succinctly describes the country since the “Great Society” was enacted. We can’t handle the truth. A reasonable facsimile of Ragnarok is on the way, though, and while most people will not learn much it will hamper our ability to live out our delusions.

  4. Rikard says:


    Give the students the right to try to achieve anything, and provide knowledge and rigid hierarchical guidance and social mores, and most of them will improve regardless of race or class.

    Give them the notion that they have a right to succeed no matter their own actions (or lack of action) and top it off with another ridiculous idea of having n+1 chances, and you get todays 3S: Special Snowflake Syndrome. Or, as I have heard aquaintances in the field of psychology/psychiatry mention: Why are the western school systems delivering an endless supply of narcissists?

    Just look up Sweden’s results in the OECD’s PISA, in TIMSS, and in PIRLS to see what multiculturalism, mass immigration and progressive schools results in.

    Comradely greetings from Sweden,
    Rikard, schoolteacher

    • Are those results in Sweden broken down by race? I thought that was illegal there.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Since the Somali fraction of top students is probably zero, even a Swede could perhaps notice.

        Speaking of Swedes, I used to think of Gustavus Adolphus,or Oxenstierna, or Harold Hardrada, or Hugh Valland. Has something gone terribly wrong?

      • Oliver Cromwell says:

        They are broken down by 1st generation and 2nd generation immigrant status, which in Sweden is a reasonable proxy for race, although becoming less of one.

    • Dale says:

      I agree with Rikard, and fear that the original article confuses several things. Of course, the theoretical education establishment in the US is crazy, but everybody already knows that. And teaching can be really hard, unless the parents are deeply concerned that the children get educated. But as far as I know, Rikard’s position is the “conservative” one, almost nobody thinks that the average children are learning as much as they could if they were motivated or required to. E.g., since my parents were born (1930), the average “education attainment” in the US has increased by 5 or more years — and probably nearly that much in actual learning — which is far more than can be accounted for by any change in intrinsic intelligence or propensity to learn.

      In regard to Finland and South Korea, it seems like much of their advantage is quite straightforward improvements to the management of teaching — pay teachers well and give them respect so that the schools can select the best workers, encourage teachers to confer with each other to learn the best techniques, send your best teachers to schools with the most difficult students (and pay them extra to do so). it would be extremely surprising if applying those techniques didn’t improve results.

      What a more sensible school system probably won’t fix is relatively poor educational outcomes for students whose intrinsic intelligence and temperament works against learning. But that isn’t really the problem our society faces (even though liberals focus on it), nor does it mean that we can’t improve the whole body of students significantly.

  5. MawBTS says:

    So what would an ideal American public schooling system look like?

    I’ve heard Greg hint before that he can think of ways to improve things. Dare I ask that the beans finally be spilled?

    • ckp says:

      For one thing there wouldn’t be a single ideal because there isn’t a single America.

    • pyrrhus says:

      Ideal would be no public schools, and a return to locally controlled and funded private schools, which is what existed in the America of my grandparents, when 98% of the population was literate. See the works of John Taylor Gatto….

      • gcochran9 says:

        Completely false.

      • Several lines of evidence indicate the following:
        1) Per-pupil costs rise and performance falls as school districts increase in size. Beyond a very low level there are no economies of scale at the delivery end of the US K-12 education industry as it currently operates.
        2) As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the content of the curriculum and the pace and method of instruction, overall system performance falls, and
        3) Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents (“Well, duh!”, as my students would say).

      • The term “education” applies to on-the-job training as much as to schooling. Minimum wage laws, child labor laws, and compulsory attendance laws put on-the-job training off limits to most normal children. Taxpayers get nothing positive from the current legal/institutional environment (compulsory attendance statutes, tax subsidization of schools, State (government, generally) operation of schools, and policies which restrict parents’ options for the use of the K-12 schooling subsidy to schools operated by the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel) that they would not get from an unsubsidized, minimally-regulated competitive market in education services.
        I recommend:
        Chubb and Moe, Politics, Markets, & America’s Schools
        Steuerle, et. al., Vouchers and the Provision of Public Services
        Coulson, Market Education
        Richman, Separating School and State
        Tooley, The Beautiful Tree
        West, “Education Vouchers in Principle and Practice”. The World Bank Research Observer (Feb., 1997)

      • Carl says:

        Completely true.

        • (greg): “Completely false.”
          (crarl): “Completely true.”
          50/50. The ideal would be an unsubsidized, minimally-regulated competitive market in education services. The first compulsory attendance statute in the British colonies of North America entered the books in 1645 or so. The last State to compel attendance at school probably did so in the early 20th century. In 1900 there were more than 160,000 school districts in the US (most students walked to school in the days before automobiles). Today there are fewer than 16,000.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Try looking at the historical trend of literacy, as measured by the Census. .

    • Economic Sophisms says:

      I’d day test kids with reaction time and Raven’s Matrices and sort accordingly. Also, teach them actual subjects, ABC, 1,2,3, not twisted lies. My elementary education in the 1990s consisted largely of being read historical fiction and being terrified about the ozone layer and mountains of landfill trash.

      • BAP says:

        I suck big time on the RPM, though I likely had good reaction time. I also score/score something like 97th percentile on Pisa/SAT equivalents. The RPM is just not enough, needs a proper Wechsler/SB/WJ.

    • syonredux says:

      RE: improving public schooling in America,

      Well, one thing that would help would be to stop importing low-performing Mestizos and Amerinds….

    • NobodyExpectsThe... says:

      I will say that the main impovement will be just saving money. In the US or anywhere in the developed world.

      I know is the complete opposite of what they tell you everywhere, but given that the level of diminishing returns reached by extra education invesment in the West, is basically on par with ritual sacrificial offerings, I think one can safely ignore them.

      For example here in Spain, a couple million kids in primary and secundary edu, go to something called “Colegios Concertados”. Something similar to charter schools. When those kids do the “Selectividad”, the battery of test to get access to the public college system, they do slightly better than the public schools pupils. The cost per child in those schools is around half the 7000 euros of the public education.

      If in the US cost per student of public schools is on average is 11k dollars, 5.5k per child in a 310+ million nation… Thats some serius money.

      • Dale says:

        Yeah, the same happens with Catholic schools in the US. But it’s easy to educate well inexpensively if you get to choose which students to educate. The tough part is raising the performance of the 20th percentile on the distribution, or the 10th.

    • melendwyr says:

      If we’re to have a public system at all, and I think it’s questionable whether such a condition is desirable, it would probably look something like the very earliest public schools – paid for at the community level, answerable only to the local community. Society would also have to care about individuals’ demonstrated skills and accomplishments rather than academic credentials. Graduating at the top of your class isn’t a selling point if the students are all terrible.

  6. dearieme says:

    “we also have a crazy overclass”: and don’t they resent it when you burst out laughing at their idiot opinions.

    • pyrrhus says:

      The puzzle is what endgame do they envisage when Idiocracy is finally achieved. I suspect that these people haven’t thought about it enough, because they aren’t really very smart…..

      • Tarl says:

        The Left no longer believes in any utopia. Chaos, death, and destruction do not “lead to” some utopian endgame. They are the endgame. They are the point of it all.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          It’s not just the Left.

          The cultural far Left and economic far Right are colluding.

          • Tarl says:

            Not sure who the “economic far right” is. If that means “big corporations” I don’t believe they are actually “right wing”. Far as I can tell, big corporations (such as the one I work for) are better described as moderate left. They are not “pretending” to accept PC orthodoxy, they enthusiastically embrace it. They accept the Leftist idea of wealth transfer at government behest and they use their political clout to ensure, as far as possible, that wealth is transferred to them rather than away from them. I don’t regard this as “economic right wing” in principle or in practice.

        • Zippy says:

          OK Tarl, but why? I can buy that some people revel in carnage and chaos; real sadists do exist. But they are rare. Very few actually want chaos, death, and destruction.

          No. I think the most likely hypothesis is that they actually believe their own nonsense — that the imported Third World immigrants really can perform up to First World standards, and that only racism is holding them back. That black geniuses exist by the boatload in the ghetto and that only racist teachers/cops/TV Executives/Republicans, etc. hold them back.

          • Tarl says:

            I don’t believe they have “good intentions”. Their intentions are corrupt. They want to signal virtue – and to signal that their opponents are evil – but they are not actually virtuous. They are happy to die so long as their enemies and the hated institutions that their enemies built are also destroyed.

            I judge by outcomes. If people persist in advocating a policy whose outcome has consistently failed in the past – and importing Third World immigrants is merely one example – then we must accept the unpalatable fact that the negative results of this policy are the positive intent of its advocates.

            • Harold says:

              People who want to signal virtue generally also really believe they are virtuous.
              That said, I don’t think good intentions are exculpatory; it is immoral to act upon lies which you have no good reason to believe.

            • Eastern delight says:

              Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum.

          • Perhaps the process of ascent in any political hierarchy demoralizes most political decision-makers, and people who start their political careers with the best of intentions eventually conclude that they can achieve no more than to stay on top as they ride the collapse to the bottom. Consider one facet: how many friends do you have? How many people know you really well? Now guess how many votes your Congressman got last election. What does he owe to people who know him as well as they know Kim Kardashian? The way we select politicians makes as much sense as it would to select surgeons by how fashionably they dress. And they know it. That’s demoralizing.

  7. IC says:

    “we also have a crazy overclass”: Unfortunately, people often project their own experience on to others. If you are from a people who can success by going to higher education, you would think any one can do it. Funny thing is that underclass know better about themselves. Ghetto kids would not waste time on higher education.

    Dunning–Kruger effect.

  8. Jim says:

    In the case of Finland and South Korea their school systems are very different. Finnish kids start school a year later and don’t do homework so that’s suppossed to be the key. But then Koreans succeed with a ompletely different way.

    US students of Northeast Asian descent do better than Japanese students in Japan despite the suppossedly poor quality of US schools. They don’t seem to notice that nobody has much difficulty teaching Northeast Asians.

  9. Patrick Boyle says:

    It doesn’t have to be that way. I taught most of my adult working life and never had trouble. The reasons were simple. I taught part time usually in the evening. I had a regular day job. I liked to teach but I could walk away from it at any time. So I never had to put up with any guff from the students.

    I never was stupid enough to teach high school. I taught adults who were motivated to learn. I taught regular college level classes, some grad school and some junior college. In thirty years of teaching I never went to one faculty meeting. Another secret to my success was that I always taught something real – like math or some computer science subject. Consequently I routinely flunked up to a third of the students and they didn’t complain. My classes typically were over booked. I often had to kick the students out of the way just to get to the front of the class. All the desks were taken and they sat on the floor.

    It’s all a matter of power. I’d seen public high school teachers – you could tell them by their red rimmed eyes. Teachers at the mercy of their students and the school administration have a hellish existence.

    There is a simple solution but America is ready for it quiet yet. If a kid can’t graduate on time put him in prison for ten years. The kids will study more and street crime will drop. Those without a HS diploma are economically doomed anyway. You might as well preemptively incarcerate them.

  10. spottedtoad says:

    It’s not easy to get poor black and Latino kids to work hard in school and learn stuff, but it’s not impossible. Happens every day. Hell, black kids, controlling for test scores, are more likely to go to college than whites these days, and much much more likely in the case of black girls. People overestimate the dysfunction of average high poverty classrooms (and most classrooms in the country are high poverty classrooms, because most kids in public schools are at least eligible for free or reduced price lunch. Differential fertility is real.) I’ve been in godawful neighborhoods that look like they just survived the blitz, and the school is a reasonably calm, pleasant, well-ordered place, the kids saying their letters and everything.

    When some schmuck teaches for a year and wails about dysfunction and racism, like this guy or like Kozol in years past, it’s a way of ignoring that you can have the best teacher in the world, the best pre-K and infant care in the world, and the test score gaps on hard tests (and lots of other gaps down the road) won’t go away. I think school is still worth something, and making schools better still worth something. And is is this crap worse than the ed reform crap from a few years ago, that said it was all about lazy teachers and unions? Probably not. The lumbering beast of the Democratic Party is wandering away from saying it’s all teachers’ fault, and reaching for Raj Chetty or someone else to say it’s all neighborhoods, or pre-K, or
    something else. (Not two parents versus one of course, though I know some here would say even that it is inconsequential.)

    I thought for a little while about going to the Harvard Graduate School of Education in younger days. It would have been a fairly good career move, if my wife didn’t mind moving to Boston. But I read a couple things their students and faculty were writing, and it was like needles in the eyeballs. Those who inherit the earth will be those who don’t mind the needles.

  11. Yudi says:

    “What possible observation or event, up to and including Ragnarok, could ever make him come to any other conclusion? He learned nothing, understood nothing, denied everything he saw or experienced.”

    This reminds me of the fundamentalism of Saudi Arabia (where I lived for a while): men are ogling women? Then have them cover up! Women are doing up their eyes since that’s the only part of them men can now see? Then have them cover their eyes, too! Men hang out at entrances to female areas since those are the only places they can see women? All the more reason for strict separation between the sexes!

    Never is there any admission that the entire crusade is wrongheaded in and of itself.

  12. Rosenmops says:

    A few years ago Sweden sent a delegation to Vancouver to try to figure out why immigrant children did better in Vancouver than in Sweden.

    Canada is a world leader in integrating immigrant children into the school system and a delegation from Sweden was in Vancouver this week to study what this country’s doing right.

    “We very much want to hear … what are you doing to be so successful?” said delegation leader Jaana Sandberg, development manager at Gothenburg’s Centre for School Development. “Some of your top students are immigrants. That’s not common in Sweden.”

    The immigrants in Vancouver are mostly Chinese and Sikhs. They cause problems but not the sorts of problems Sweden is having with Somalis and other Muslims. I wonder if the Swedes ever figured out what was going on. Apparently not since they still bring in dysfunctional immigrants by the thousands.

    Mind you our new idiot prime Minister Trudeau is now doing the same thing.

    • Dale says:

      I think you overlooked this item in the referenced article, which clearly accounts for the better results seen in Vancouver: “For example, the program recently teamed up with REEL Canada and the Canadian Red Cross to help students create a short clay animation film about online bullying.”

  13. Purple Furple says:

    The old WASP elite were never this nutty.

  14. Frau Katze says:

    Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the well known book on cancer, “The Emperor of Maladies” has new book out called “The Gene”. It got a good review at The New York Times. It’s what you’d expect. After criticizing Charles Murray and others, the reviewer says


    blockquote>Mukherjee’s analysis of these episodes is clarifying and, in my view, definitive. He notes the narrow and shifting definitions of “intelligence” and its measure by flawed and culturally bound tests. To understand the debate properly, though, we need to recognize how artificial our racial categories are to begin with. The explosion of knowledge that has come from the Human Genome Project and its successors allows statistical measures of genetic diversity in groups we classify as “races.” Between the races, diversity is slight; within them, diversity is enormous.

  15. Julian says:

    Interestingly European and Asian students in US public schools do just as well, if not better than their counterparts in Europe and Asia.

    • j says:

      If Chinese students do better in America than in China; if African students do better in America than in Africa, if Mexican students do better in America than in Mexico, then American educational system must be quite good. Facilities, textbooks, even the teachers are better than everywhere. Nonetheless. there is a drug problem.

    • Gringo says:

      Which reminds me of Milton Friedman’s response to being told that Swedish poverty rates were lower than US poverty rates: the poverty rate of Americans of Swedish descent is lower than the poverty rate for the US.

      • Dale says:

        IIRC, the poverty rate for Americans of Swedish descent is lower than the poverty rate for Swedes, too.

        • Julian says:

          They appear to have higher trust levels.

          “So far so good for Rothstein’s policy-based theory. Welfare state policies and a kind and forgiving society have made trust levels in Sweden and Scandinavia high, whereas Americans living in a brutal market economy cannot trust each other. …

          So now let’s look at trust levels within the U.S, using the General Social Survey (The General Social Survey has large enough sample size to make measurement of small groups meaningful). Millions of Americans are descendants of Scandinavian immigrants. They have lived in the U.S for generations, and their lives are as much influenced by the American (relatively) small government economic system as other Americans.

          The results are striking. Americans of Swedish descent have 33% higher trust than average for the United States. Americans of Nordic descent have 39% higher trust than the average for the United States.”

  16. He stumbled (?) upon my two favorite comparison nations. The South Koreans outperform Americans because the make their kids work so bloody hard. The Finns surpass the Americans because they are so much more laid back and don’t pressure the kids.

    In both cases, group photographs could tell you more, if you could see.

    Once we figure out how to do both at once, I suppose, we will be well on our way to the perfect education system.

  17. AppSocRes says:

    There are many problems with how poorly the USA’s public education system deals with its current mix of students. Perhaps the biggest is the ideology, recently articulated by our not-terribly-bright, current commander in chief, that every public school pupil deserves a right to go to college. Just starting with the recognition that an IQ of 115 or more, is except in very exceptionally motivated individuals, is the bare minimum needed to benefit in any way from a real college education (like those available at most decent colleges back in the early 1950s) would be a good beginning for education reform.

    We could then figure out some alternative to the so-called college prep track that almost all students are currently forced to endure. We could maybe create some real and effective forms of business and trade education, e.g., with real, paying apprenticeships attached, that would appeal to many students of lesser intelligence. As a bonus, intellectually competent students could be exposed to challenging academic materials for the first time in over half a century. We might even think about putting the real troublemakers into discipline schools like NYC once had or even boarding schools where severe control discourages anti-social behavior and forces a minimum level of learning.

    But the attempt to do this will almost immediately run up against the hard fact that intelligence and self-discipline are not distributed among the races. At that point any real reform will be attacked and destroyed by zealous SJWs and their judicial allies and enablers. Ragnarok may ultimately be the best solution.

    • Julian says:

      I would recommend emailing education officials or report writers who have these incorrect assumptions. I’ve probably emailed about ten, I usually get a response, often acknowledging that they are aware of research about the importance of genes. They then say that they believe cultural factors are very important. Only one came back offended by the idea that there could be any differences.

  18. maciano says:

    I’ve corresponded with a fairly famous (in the field) Dutch sociology prof, specialized in education. He was courteous, well-read and known for edgy PoVs. (Not really: stuff like Islam retards young people)

    He seemed to acknowledge the role of IQ in education outcome every now and then, only to confuse himself with other research on culture, benefits of diversity and similar nonsense.

    After Merkel’s blunder he finally found some courage to state as implicitly as possible that this would be a bad idea. Sadly, he died within a year, old age.

    I wonder what a man of science would think of himself to have knowingly non-enlightened anyone, while that was his only job in life.

    • Julian says:

      That’s why I think someone like Jensen deserves a lot of respect for genuinely looking at, and changing his position based on evidence, the causes of the achievement gap. I’d recommend Frank Miele’s book ‘Conversations with Arthur Jensen’.

  19. JoachimStrobel says:

    I am not sure how many of the people here have/had kids. And how many remember the times when these kids came home with bad grades. And how many parents then said to themself: Oh, he/she is just lazy or he/she must be smart for obtaining that grade for that little learning, or how bad the school/teacher/class is or how badly the friends surrounding him/her influenced all that…
    Who did say: Yes that is it, he/she is really not that smart….
    Be honest to yourself in answering this question.

    • lemmy caution says:

      Parents generally like their kid’s teachers and schools.

    • I’m not sure what your agenda is here, but let me tell you my own experience, which is the opposite of what you claim. I had two children in the usual way, both very smart verbal, one also smart math, neither that musically, athletically, nor socially talented, though they could get by. They worked quite hard at outside interests which fortunately had some in-school applicability, and put some effort into school as well. I was clear after about 5th grade that son #1 and son #2 each could do things that the other could not, or not easily. I insisted on hard work as that is also valuable, even if it is not a substitute.

      We adopted teenagers from Romania in 2001. Both had much lower IQ’s than my first two, one above-average, one below, but the latter had good spatial abilities. They are both well-employed adults because they went to places where talent is more scarce (Nome and Tromso) and they can leverage their strengths. Son #5, a nephew, also came to us at 13. Good verbal skills, great social skills, and the poor impulse contro of both his bio mom and bio dad. He’ll make it, but he will piss away some advantages. We knew very early what he could do and what he couldn’t and trimmed our sails accordingly.

    • DrBill says:

      I think the “s” in “kids” in your question is important. I have four. One of them is young enough that I don’t have a strong opinion on that kid’s intelligence. The other three I’m quite confident in ranking compared to one another, me, my wife, and American whites. I have one child who I think should be something like a dental hygienist or physician’s assistant. I have one child who I think should be something like an engineer or actuary. I have one child who is on the borderline between being either a mechanical designer or an engineer. Firefighter is not out of the question for that one, though.

      Sometimes I write off their less than stellar grades to the child taking a class too hard; sometimes I write off their less than stellar grades to the pedagogy being defective; sometimes I write off their less than stellar grades to laziness. Websites containing online gradebooks are a boon. Jr does only half the homework assignments yet gets low As on the tests and thus a B/C ==> lazy. Jr does all the homeworks, fucks many of them up, and gets Cs on the tests ==> not smart enough or craptastic instruction, need more info. Jr does all the homeworks, gets As on them, gets Cs on the tests ==> not smart enough.

      I’ll happily wager, though, that the disease you’re wanting to diagnose is very common amongst one child wonders. Those people are screwed up. Especially the ones who manage to coax out one live birth at age 43 amid multiple miscarriages. I know ones who torture their unathletic child with incessant private (insert sport here) lessons. I know ones who torture their musically talentless child with incessant violin/piano lessons. I know ones who torture their dumbass child with Kumon. Because, you see, all that stands between you and a career in professional soccer is doing enough drills.

      Tabula rasa lunacy seems, on my casual empiricism, to be declining in number of children.

      • anon says:

        “I have one child who I think should be something like a dental hygienist or physician’s assistant.”

        Those occupations vary quite a bit on intelligence requirements and prestige. Hygienist = associates degree. Physician’s Assistant = post graduate degree. It seems the word “assistant” in PA is bad PR and gives many the wrong impression.

  20. Cochran states we have a problem. Cochran can write wonderful blog threads for the rest of his life and readers and commentators will still not see the source, the actual cause of this problem. It will be the greedy billionaires fault, the politicians fault, the flawed education systems fault, the medias fault, the immigrants fault or God knows what else.

    The root of the problem isn’t any of these things, its too many stupid people. When people are not competent enough to understand the very very complex human world we live in how are they going to fix it? When people are not smart enough to skill up to do the jobs that pay well how are they going to be able to live the good life.

    Granted there re things that can be done to make our lives better, I am neither apathetic or completely cynical, but the wishful thinking that denies reality doesn’t help anything.

    The big picture is humanity moving through time. The industrial revolution washed over mankind starting around 1850 and utterly changed everything. Within 250 years of that event or around 2100 the next humongous change will start because by then we will genetically engineer smarter people. And thank God for that because without that will have a world full of stupid bitter people who listen to assholes who propose terrible solutions that only make things worse.

    When Quinn the eskimo gets here everybody going to jump for joy.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Dave, want to bet whether the incidence of the particular kind of foolishness I mentioned goes up or down with IQ?

      • ziel says:

        Haha yes – the stupidity is no doubt U-shaped, or maybe J-shaped. That’s why blue-collar workers are such notorious racists – they’re not smart enough to ignore what they observe right in front of them. CEO’s, pundits, and politicians, on the other hand, are smart enough to analyze graphs and charts, and so they know the correlations and can grasp the certainty that if all those underlying conditions could just be evened out then all those nasty outcomes will be equalized, too!

      • Bright people do seem to just have more rope to believe the nonsense you are talking about, I will grant you that. I’m talking about something a bit different. Hopefully genetic engineering will throw us a lifeline before idiocracy takes full effect.

    • JoachimStrobel says:

      Within the Atlantic community, the lack of selective pressure through child survival and deaseases has been offset by the selective power of wars between 1850 and 1950. Saturn/Appolo, 747&Concord are a result of that. It seems to be different now.

      • gcochran9 says:

        The selective effect of recent war is fairly weak, also negative.

        • JoachimStrobel says:

          I find it hard to believe that a Werner von Braun would have been possible without war and its direct and indirect selections.

        • IC says:

          The wars during feudal time were eugenic. Feudal lords only want productive tax-payers stay on their territory. Delinquent tax-payers would be evicted or executed by the lords, similar to landlords today who evict delinquent tenants.

          During feudal wars after fall of Ming Dynasty, Manchurian rebel force did just that on their occupied land by eliminating delinquent tax-payers. Other peasant rebel lords with more progressive policy gave free loading to the poor “Eat and drunk without worry since the lords ask no tax” -populism policy. We all know the outcome today. Manchurian defeated all other rebels and formed Qing dynasty.

          At end, feudal lords were just CEOs for their nations. Good CEOs know how to run corporations.

          • IC says:

            To make it rhyme like original Chinese slogan from peasant rebel lord

            Eating and drinking without fear,
            Since the lord asking no fare

          • IC says:

            Evolution and devolution are depending on selection pressure.

            Devolution seems inevitable when selection pressure goes away like all these birds on islands.

            For human, the same rule applies. Depigmentation of human skin is likely devolutional due to sheltered life (low selection pressure). Increased brain volume in cold region is evolutional due to tough survival environment (high selection pressure).

            In civilized society, high taxation on the subjects in feudal society was high selection pressure for smart productive citizens. To survive, you have to produce enough to pay tax first and still have left over for your own family.

            • IC says:

              Today, progressive tax and tax break for poor is devolutional.

              In feudal time, at least in feudal China, taxation is fixed amount per head. Thus, more productive, more wealth left for the tax-payer after fixed tax amount (not rate). For example, if tax is fixed for $10000 per person per year, any one who earn less than $10000 will be in big trouble. Feudal IRS would arrest such poor individual either for deportation or execution (far more brutal than American IRS). It is form of poor people cleansing instead of ethnic cleansing. Within a few generation, that nation would have higher average IQ, higher peasants productivity per acre, more wealth than those progressive nations. Very little percentage of people in poverty. It is no surprise that often brutal rulers often create stronger nations at end. It is a form national gentrification.

              According to Allen Greenspan, Chinese farmer productivity per acre is 2 times that of Vietnamese, 3 times of Indians. Likely, fixed high taxation per head during thousand years of feudal lords history create selection pressure for such productivity.

  21. orsomethingwhatever says:

    Off-topic, but has anyone here read Rebecca Jordan-Young’s Brain Storm? Keeps getting touted as some great demolishing of biological gender differences in cognition.

  22. Sinij says:

    So we know we won’t get positive educational outcomes for some people. What do we do with them? Present answer in US seems to be incarceration. This is awfully expensive.

    • Jim says:

      Trying to prepare everybody for a college education and career is idiotic but thats the official ideology of the educational establishment. They routinely and seriously (as far as I can tell) talk about everybody going to college despite the fact that about 25% of the US population has an IQ below 90 and it is often said that about 50% of actual college graduates have jobs not requiring a college degree.

      If we had a more realistic approach to education we presumably could do a much better job of appropriatly educationg people of average or less than average IQ. But people of very low IQ are a big problem in our kind of society. According to Linda Gottfredson individuals with an IQ of less than 75 are essentially unemployable in the US economy,
      at least in legal occupations.

      The biggest obstacle to dealing with this problem is that currently even talking about it is taboo.

      • IC says:

        “IQ of less than 75 are essentially unemployable in the US economy,
        at least in legal occupations.”

        Only with institution setting with shelter and food guaranteed, these people could be trained to perform simple task.

        Sounds like slavery now.

      • Ursiform says:

        We send many people to college so they can complete a high school education …

  23. gwern says:

    Off-topic: here is an old boiling-off paper which doesn’t seem to have been discussed at all on the blog, checking for the title & author, which is rather like the Amish paper:

    “Gene Flow by Selective Emigration as a Possible Cause for Personality Differences Between Small Islands and Mainland Populations”, Ciani & Cialuppi 2011

    Whether personality differences exist between populations is a controversial question. Even though such differences can be measured, it is still not clear whether they are due to individual phenotypic responses to the environment or whether they have a genetic influence. In a population survey we compared the personality traits of inhabitants of an Italian archipelago (the three Egadi islands; N=622) with those of the closest mainland population (Trapani area; N=106) and we found that personality differences between small populations can be detected. Islanders scored significantly lower on the personality traits of openness to experience and extraversion and higher on conscientiousness. We suggest that these personality trait differences could be an adaptive response to a confined socio-environmental niche, genetically produced by a strong, non-random gene flow in the last 20–25 generations, rather than the flexible response of islanders to environmental variables. To test this hypothesis, we compared subsets of the islander population classified by ancestry, birthplace, immigration and emigration and found that differences in extraversion can be accounted for by gene flow, while openness to experience and conscientiousness can also be accounted for by some gene–environment interactions. We propose a Personality Gene Flow hypothesis suggesting that, in small isolated communities, whenever there is strong, non-random emigration, paired with weak and random immigration, we can expect rapid genetic personality change within the population.

  24. IC says:

    As enthusiastic wilderness hikers, my dad and I did numerous trips in Manchuria forest for hunting-collecting of wild stuffs (deer, mushroom, berries, nuts). We had no trails or paths to follow in deep woods. We got lost numerous times and we always made our way back to civilization within 24 hrs.

    Yet, the following is a tragedy for a lady.

    If you look at map, her final spot is not so far away from civilizations in many directions. Trails and roads are all nearby.

    Maybe men have larger brain than women for good reason. Survival of fittest in real time. Outdoor adventure like this is not for women.

  25. Pingback: Mighty, Maybe Not Whitey – spottedtoad

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