Education, recent

In Defense of New York City’s Elite Public High Schools

The New York City Department of Education operates eight extremely selective public high schools that have long served as pathways to achievement-for the children of upwardly mobile families. Admission to these schools is determined solely on the basis of performance in a special entrance examination—so these schools have avoided the problems associated with legacy admissions, athletics-based preferences and donor pressures, all of which serve to undermine the merit principle at many elite universities.

But there is a problem. Compared to their share of New York City population-at-large, black and Hispanic students are dramatically underrepresented in these schools. A recent New York Times article cast the issue in stark terms with its headline: Only 7 Black Students Got Into Stuyvesant, N.Y.’s Most Selective High School, Out of 895 Spots. As the article noted, Asian-American students make up only about 15% of New York’s total public-school population—yet accounted for 66% of admitted Stuyvesant High School applicants in 2019.

These numbers are stoking outrage in some quarters. And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for overhauling the admissions process in a way that would boost admissions for blacks and Hispanics at the expense of whites and Asians. But such a move would require approval from the New York State legislature, which is a long shot given the (understandable) opposition from the families of low-income Asian students, who make up the plurality of the student body at all but two of these eight elite schools.

That constituency should not have to fight this political battle alone. Those of us who believe in the merit principle, and who have seen firsthand how these schools can improve the lives of the students who attend them, should raise their voice in defence of the current system.

That would include me. In early 1961, when I was a ninth grader at a Bronx junior high school, a teacher suggested that I take the entrance exam for the Bronx High School of Science, one of the city’s elite high schools (both then and now). Like most of the other kids who were encouraged to apply, I was a Jewish kid from either a working-class or middle-class household. Few of us had parents who’d attended college, and we had all seemed to have a knack for science.

Back then, there was no such thing as “test prep”: You simply showed up, took the test, and went home. Several months thereafter, some of us were informed we’d been accepted to “Science,” as the school was known colloquially. My attendance would require an hour of travel by two buses, rather than a short walk to the local high school, but I found the idea exciting. My parents encouraged me, and I entered 10th grade at the Bronx High School of Science in September, 1961.

My class of 700 or so was at least 80% Jewish. Perhaps a quarter were girls. The one constant among all students was unusually high intelligence. Of all the institutions I’ve gone on to attend or work at—including Harvard Medical School, where I served as dean—this was the place that featured, on average, the smartest people. The main currency in this realm was academic performance: Grades were published to two decimal points in the school newspaper twice per year (I could have done without that), and our heroes were the math team rather than the basketball team (we had no football team).

Like a good minor-league baseball player who faces a true major-league pitcher for the first time, I quickly realized that many of my classmates possessed brute intelligence that was simply on a higher level than my own—especially in math and physics. It was a safe school full of well-behaved bookworms. And not everyone pursued science. The class produced high achievers in every sphere—including future poets, writers, musicians and lawyers. One of ’64 classmates was famed mathematician Gregory Chaitin—after whom is named the Chaitin constant in algorithmic information theory. (He sat next to me on my first day of class in 1961. He was the one writing out long equations for fun during English class.) Another was science writer Dava Sobel. In all, the school’s alumni have earned eight Nobel Prizes, eight Pulitzer prizes, two Turing awards and, yes, Two Emmys. (I haven’t won any of these prizes.)

In my case, I decided to consider a career in medicine. But despite being in the top quarter of my class, I was counseled against applying to Harvard or Yale, and was rejected by Columbia. The last vestiges of anti-Semitic bias were still wafting through these elite schools, and it was known that while well-heeled Jews didn’t face too much of a problem, admissions officers didn’t want too many Jews of the, shall we say, Bronxian variety. I was accepted by NYU, but when I saw the tuition (minuscule by today’s standards, but still daunting to a teenager who had to pay his own freight), I chose instead to attend the “proletarian Harvard”—the City College of New York (CCNY). Grades alone determined admission. And at the time, the school was considered academically rigorous. At $37 per semester for tuition, the price was certainly right. It seemed like half my class joined me there.

Thirty years later, I visited Bronx High School of Science again—this time as a Harvard Professor—with my wife, also a Harvard professor, a daughter of poor Greek immigrants who graduated from that same high school in 1968, four years after I did. Although much appeared the same as it had been back in the 1960s, it was evident that the majority of students now were Asian-Americans, not Jews or even whites more generally, a situation that persists to this day. In the most recent cohort, 58% of admission offers at Bronx Science were made to Asian students, 25% to whites, and low single digits for both Hispanics and Blacks.

Obviously, the ethnic and racial composition of Science and the other selective schools has not mirrored that of the general public-school population, even as the group with disproportionately high representation has switched from Jewish to Asian over that period. Both these groups were minorities, and both have been subject to discrimination, each having endured limited economic standing at the time they came to dominate these selective schools. I’m not certain about why members of these two groups have managed to score high on admission exams year after year, but I expect that one factor has been the attitude of their families toward academic achievement. What is certainly clear is that these schools have allowed students like me to enjoy a rigorous academic environment, surrounded by others who embraced the same values, without requiring our families to pay private-school tuitions that were beyond our means.

But even if one is to defend the status-quo admissions system, it won’t do to simply celebrate the extraordinary success of the children who’ve benefited: There are urgent questions to be asked about the exclusion of other groups.

First and foremost: How good a job does New York City’s public school system do in educating those students who haven’t sought or gained admission to selective schools? The vast majority of students in New York City are in this latter category, as the eight elite schools represent only a little more than 1% of the city’s roughly 600 total high schools. As has been well-documented, public schools in less affluent neighborhoods typically offer little in the way of enriched courses; and problems at school can be compounded by family and social factors, including racism, which serve to deny many black and Hispanic students the fruits of their high potential. That is a tragedy.

Such problems have been understood for generations, even if solutions have proven elusive. Clearly, this is a challenge that is resistant to quick fixes—including a quick fix that would involve ending or weakening the system used to recruit students to the city’s most selective schools.

Though I have experience as a physician-educator, I have no expertise in public school education. Nevertheless, as someone who has spent a good part of his professional life seeking to recruit diverse, top-performing talent to institutions such as Harvard Medical School, I know something about the way ambitious people with promising futures are prone to make decisions. Watering down the criteria used to admit students to the best schools in New York City (or any jurisdiction) could actually make underlying problems worse by provoking ethnic animosities and furthering the flight of upwardly mobile populations—a phenomenon that had virtually apocalyptic repercussions for New York City in the 1970s. It also would threaten to crack the one acknowledged jewel in the city’s educational crown.

Moreover, switching to an admissions system based on geographical, racial or other criteria that is even partially dissociated from achievement would lead to a possibly racially stratified intra-school performance hierarchy, which in turn would unnecessarily damage the self-esteem of many of those admitted. A far better solution would be to improve the neighborhood schools that could be feeding diverse, high-performing cohorts of teenagers to elite high schools.

In the medical profession, when an alarming sign or symptom develops in the absence of a proper diagnosis, attempts at therapy may themselves prove dangerous to a patient. In this case, the symptoms are real and alarming, and demand the attention of serious diagnosticians and therapists of educational achievement. But treating the symptom by compromising highly effective schools with a generations-long track record of success wouldn’t actually ameliorate the presenting symptom of disparate educational attainment across racial and ethnic groups. Instead, it would delay effective remedies for the larger educational challenge, and thereby represent a serious mistake for New York City.

 

Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D. is Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and Higginson Professor of Medicine and Neurobiology. He is a former dean of Harvard Medical School. His previous Quillette articles include As a Former Dean of Harvard Medical School, I Question Brown’s Failure to Defend Lisa Littman and Harvard’s Flawed Response to Ronald Sullivan Joining Weinstein’s Defense Team.

Featured image: Physics class at Bronx High School of Science, 1944. From the collection of the Museum of the City of New York.

128 Comments

  1. James Smith says

    These exam schools are places where you actually have to be able to do the work.

    • Jason Brand says

      Precisely. And if those forcibly admitted on the basis of race cannot do so, where then are these schools?

    • ldcj says

      This is evidence of shocking discrimination!! Someone tell de Blovio.

    • Tersitus says

      Time to expand this model into an elite colleges system. Let the whingers pucker and shout.

  2. S. Cheung says

    This is a tricky issue. THe author should be commended by recognizing his personal conflict of interest (having been a very successful product of one of these schools), by placing his conflict front and center, but also by utilizing that conflict (his personal experience) in a measured way against competing interests.
    It seems unique for NYC to have publicly funded schools that operate on merit. It’s clearly worked, in the sense that it has produced high academic achievers. That is a net benefit to society. As such, that seems to be tax dollars well spent.
    I appreciate how the author takes pains to demonstrate that success stories like his own were produced from the middle class through schools like the one he attended. In a non-entrepreneurial sense, theirs was the prototypical American dream. In the current environment, however, that dream seems farther and farther removed from reality.
    And yet, I would agree that the solution is to lift all boats, rather than dragging down the top flight. The difficulty is how to undo literally centuries of disparity that weighs down certain segments of society. Equality of outcomes, as Jordan Petersen likes to say, is for idiots. Equality of opportunity is something every reasonable person should espouse. Unfortunately, there are still many socioeconomic barriers to be removed before that equality of opportunity can truly be afforded to all.

    • Tommy says

      It’s not quite unique–Chicago and a few other cities have them, and the problems Flier mentions are similar.

      The problem isn’t the neighborhood schools, but the students. There’s no accountability and little discipline. And by “discipline,” I mostly mean that the kids simply do not do their homework. Nor do they read on their own at home. This is a cultural problem. We’ve put so much time and money and effort into creating better teachers, but if students are not doing the work, what’s the point?

      Flier is right, though, that these schools should not be dumbed down. I understand that becoming more egalitarian or democratic is a worthy goal, but these schools work, so don’t saddle them with social engineering.

      • C. G. says

        I live in Chicago. We have more than 8 high schools that wealthy and upwardly mobile people aspire to. There are also a number of schools where kids that aren’t as academically gifted, but who have a good work ethic can receive an excellent education, often much better than what they can get in the ‘burbs if you start digging deeper into the test scores (looking at how many low income students pass algebra, for instance).

        I don’t live in New York, but from what I’ve read from New York’s teachers in this journal, New York’s problem isn’t that the 8 elite high schools are predominantly Asian, it’s that there aren’t enough safe schools where kids of all levels can learn.

        • ga gamba says

          it’s that there aren’t enough safe schools where kids of all levels can learn.

          Or, in other words, too many unsafe students allowed to remain at school to intimidate and attack fellow students and teachers to the detriment of learning.

          • Exactly. Should not be a binary choice, elite school or you are doomed. Need tiered sytem, trade schools, the dreaded “tracking”. Only makes sense.

    • ga gamba says

      Equality of outcomes, as Jordan Petersen likes to say, is for idiots. Equality of opportunity is something every reasonable person should espouse. Unfortunately, there are still many socioeconomic barriers to be removed before that equality of opportunity can truly be afforded to all.

      An interesting way to say, “Yes, but I throw my support to the idiots.”

      Which levelling policies ought to be applied to remove the “many barriers”? A leg up in admissions? OK, so now they’re in class with all the high performing Asians. The disparity of talent will reveal itself very quickly. Should the teachers award bonus points to the less privileged when marking their papers and exams? The state already did so when granting admissions based on immutable characteristics, so the precedent has been established. Should teachers dumb down the lessons and spend more attention on the dim? OK, when ought that cease? After graduation from medical school and being hired as a resident? And what are we to do about the unequal distribution of Asian tiger mums? That’s socio, is it not? Tiger mums to the masses? Surely they don’t all have the same equal ferocity.

      Do all Hispanics have the same barriers? If not, why then would equalising measures be applied indiscriminately to all Hispanics? Or blacks? Or women? Or anyone else? They, like everyone else, exist across a spectrum of socioeconomic situations, some with few if any barriers and others with more. Yet, the advocates reject fine tuning because such individualisation doesn’t further mass political action. Further, of the barriers asserted to exist, for example parents who don’t speak English at home, is that exclusively a barrier? Wouldn’t fluency in two or more languages also give the child a leg up in many ways, from university admission to employment and beyond? Could monolingual families assert their children are disadvantaged as well? Golly, it appears that advantages and disadvantages are in flux and context dependent. How will you create and implement policies to handle such topsy turvy dynamism?

      The problem we have is a compulsive fixation on equality. It’s the be all and end all. It’s a fascinating paradox that the diversity crowd is also the same crowd who want the great uniformity of levelling, one of equally equal things, tangible and not, afforded to all truly equally. Until the impossible is achieved, it’s to be endless whingeing, tantrums, and demands for more discriminatory equaling.

      • S. Cheung says

        Ga Gamba – buddy, it seems your propensity to knee-jerk has landed your patella 2 feet up your rectum.
        “An interesting way to say, “Yes, but I throw my support to the idiots.””
        I stated that I perceived them to be “socioeconomic” barriers. Yet you somehow ignored the longest word in the sentence. That is expert level selective reading skills that you’re rocking there.
        So your entire first paragraph is a pointless collection to rhetorical questions in response to points I did NOT make. Plus those questions suggest the targeting of outcomes, which I already implied I do not support. WHich makes me further wonder whether you can distinguish “outcome” from “opportunity”. I imagine I should first allow you to get your physical contortions dealt with, then to find a dictionary.
        …….
        Ok, happy you made it back.
        My suggestion revolves around some very basic things, but which are hard to provide and ensure on a societal level, cuz we still haven’t managed it. Like kids having breakfast in the morning so they don’t go to school hungry. Or to have heat at night so they can get proper sleep. And maybe an environment where they could effectively prepare for a test. You know, things that remove extraneous factors, so we can test individuals on their actual individual abilities, and not on the fortune of their birth. The author, for instance, did not come from extraordinary means. But he made it to the upper echelons. He had the gift of “intelligence”, added a hefty portion of hard work, but founded on a base that allowed him to put his best foot forward.
        So this is the equality of opportunity I speak of. Essentially one where you lift the societal base, such that a test of merit can better reflect individual ability rather than individual background. And then, of course, the individual is responsible for how things turn out the rest of the way. So sure, i want to see a system where all boats are lifted. Are you one of those types who likes to see entire races kept down on generational levels?

        Your second paragraph sounds like a canned rant. Have you used it elsewhere before, and simply cut/pasted here? Cuz it doesn’t relate to anything I wrote, and doesn’t seem to pertain much to the author’s article either. And you are still focusing on outcomes when you allude to those “equalising measures”. So….ummm….I agree with you? And there is also room for common sense. Your “languages” point is more comedy than thought provoking. Y’know, they say that world travel broadens horizons, opens minds, and creates more well-rounded individuals….perhaps an equality of opportunity would require that all kids get to travel the world before middle-school…..of course that is patently ridiculous. So again….I agree with you….because what you were arguing there is ridiculous.

        Your last paragraph again belies your inability to distinguish “outcome” from “opportunity”. So I think the best way forward here is to get acquainted with some definitions, cuz I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

        • E. Olson says

          S. Cheung – So the whole secret to solving the elite school demographic problem is overcoming socio-economic barriers such as hunger and heat? Low income blacks and Hispanics are the most obese groups in the US, and virtually every school in America already offers free breakfasts and lunches for low-income children, so is coming to school hungry really the problem causing low black and Hispanic test scores? Not enough money to heat the house in winter? Is that also a problem in Florida, Texas, Southern California, and Arizona with black and Hispanic kids also lag on standardized test scores? 75% of black kids are born to single moms, as are 50+% of Hispanic kids, and we know single parent households are generally bad for children, but how do you propose to fix that problem? Perhaps we should take kids away from single moms and put them into two-parent tiger-mom families that force them to attend school and do their homework? Or we could shut down the welfare system that rewards poor people who have children? Encourage more pregnant would-be single moms to have abortions or shot-gun weddings? Most of these have been tried in various times and places with limited or no success, but please tell us your secret plan to overcome socio-economic inequalities that are keeping blacks and Hispanics down, but apparently not effecting Jews or Asians.

          • S. Cheung says

            E. Olson – “So the whole secret…”
            Yeah, cuz that’s really what I said. Listen, are you one of those typical knuckle-dragging numbskulls who is only capable of addressing straw-men? Cuz up till now, I haven’t really seen much evidence to the contrary. You have religious-level views on IQ and climate (which are likely no more legit than the concept of religion itself), and you don’t like “lefties”. Deep (or even half-wit) thinker, you are not.
            I gave “examples” of some basic things that might impact on the equality of opportunity. You know what “examples” are, right? As in “not an exhaustive list”? So what I am saying is that basic necessities, like food and shelter, might be a factor that might need to be accounted for, up to some “reasonable” level, to ensure that testing reflects individual ability rather than individual background. I am beginning to fully realize now that when I speak of “reasonable”, I am not talking to or about you.
            I haven’t proposed how to fix that problem. But I recognize it as one, which is more than you can say. And as they say about problems, you can’t fix what you can’t perceive. That represents much of life for you. I also noted that this problem isn’t difficult to grasp, but is seemingly difficult to solve, as evidenced by the fact it hasn’t been. You seem to think of yourself as being non-retarded…any bright ideas, or shall I simply contemplate your silence?

          • E. Olson says

            S. Cheung – I notice that most of your replies are full of name calling and insults because some of us that respond to your posts apparently don’t fully comprehend the great depth of your thinking. Since several of us consistently don’t “get you”, perhaps the problem is that you are just not a very effective communicator?

            You brought up food and heat as factors to explain poor test performance, and I responded and then you call my response a “straw man”, because I didn’t understand that you had much larger list that you chose to not share with us. I also notice that you almost never actually respond to the points made, and instead just resort to insults because you don’t like the answers. Perhaps instead of insults and name calling you might start proposing things of substance that suggest you actually know something about the issues you choose to comment on. Name calling is for morons and Leftists – which are you?

          • S. Cheung says

            E. Olson –
            It may well be that I haven’t communicated effectively. But it is demonstrably true that some, you included, don’t read effectively. Whether that’s innate or intentional, I cannot say. But if you don’t read what I’m writing and respond to stuff that I didn’t write, then there’s not a lot more I can do.
            I don’t think I’ve used any perjorative descriptors that you, among others, haven’t used in comparable measure (and just so we are clear, I’m speaking of the level of descriptor, rather than individual words, lest you reply “but i never said numbskull”).

            My earlier point was made with a short list, then a summary statement (“And maybe an environment where they could effectively prepare for a test. You know, things that remove extraneous factors, so we can test individuals on their actual individual abilities, and not on the fortune of their birth.”). It should be clear that I am referencing the concept, rather than invoking a laundry list. Yet here we are. If you must be that literal, that’s ok, but that’s your gig and not mine.

            And no, I haven’t provided a sentence-by-sentence retort, when your previous post was 1 paragraph that consisted of examples for your one point. I didn’t realize a line by line vetting was the requirement here. And you’ve done the same on some of my earlier responses on other threads where you ignore some points and respond to others…is this another example of you lacking the self-awareness to realize you’re just doing a pot-kettle routine?

            My suggestion: whine less; self-reflect more. You and I would both be better for it.

        • ga gamba says

          I see from your comments that you’re extraordinarily thin skinned, so I shall take care not to distress further your fragility.

          Are you one of those types who likes to see entire races kept down on generational levels?

          Therein is the problem. You see “entire races” being kept down. I was very specific in my comment that each person is placed situationally different. “Do all Hispanics have the same barriers? If not, why then would equalising measures be applied indiscriminately to all Hispanics? Or blacks? Or women? Or anyone else? They, like everyone else, exist across a spectrum of socioeconomic situations, some with few if any barriers and others with more. Yet, the advocates reject fine tuning because such individualisation doesn’t further mass political action.”

          Your “languages” point is more comedy than thought provoking.

          Yet, school assignments now are beginning to attach preference to students whose parents don’t speak English at home.

          Last year Brooklyn’s District 15 middle schools decided to longer screen their students’ applications based on factors such as report card grades, test scores, or auditions for performing arts programs – eliminating selective admissions based on education criteria altogether. Even the performing arts school was required to scrap its screening process. Prior to the change, ten of the eleven schools selected students based on their academic achievement. Why was it changed? Whilst 42 per cent of white students and 62 per cent of Asian students passed the screen for test scores, grades, and attendance, just 17 per cent of black and 16 per cent of Latino students did. This was deemed racial discrimination. How this discriminated against the Asians is left unanswered. Instead, the district now uses a lottery that gives extra weight to students who come from low-income families, come from an non-English speaking immigrant family, or live in temporary housing. One’s skills most relevant to education were removed and replaced by socioeconomic ones. Each school must reserve at least 52 per cent of seats based on the aforementioned criteria.

          Laugh if you like, but whilst you’re doing so the changes you find unrealistic are happening right under your nose. It may be that you’re not as up on current events as you think.

          You know, things that remove extraneous factors, so we can test individuals on their actual individual abilities, and not on the fortune of their birth.

          And you think I’m the comedian, eh? As E.O mentioned, the basic things you mentioned already exist. Yes, your examples are not an exhaustive list, but when you provide examples of things in need to be done, and they are already being done, you appear ill-informed or not up to date. Anyway, good luck removing all those extraneous factors to create the ideal environment for each and every student. You would be playing an endless game of whack a mole because as you remove disparity in some areas new ones will appear.

          BTW, if your fantasy educational environment were somehow come to be, one where students are isolated from extraneous factors, what happens to those students upon re-entry into normal society?

          Perhaps that adversity just about every person encounters in life – to varying degrees – helps build resilience and other positive characteristics that aid them in their adulthood. Having bulldozers of societal levelling may create young people who later wilt in the face of challenges, claiming new extraneous factors now impede their adult lives and successes.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba –
            words have meaning. If people on the right can’t even use “outcome” and “opportunity” in an acceptable sense, then yeah, gets a little frustrating. If that’s what “fragility” is for you, then you’re welcome to it, along with whatever neologisms you desire.

            Your earlier rant (easier admissions…which might equalize student enrollment by race; easier marking…which leads to inflated grades for certain races so that attainment/graduation rates become more level; and easier hiring for certain jobs so that employee race is more evenly distributed) are all examples of outcomes. (i’m being explicit cuz some people, like EO, were whining that I need to do line by line audits, so there you go).

            Do “all Hispanics” (or all anything) have the same barriers (or same anything)? Of course not. Thanks for spelling out a fairly obvious truism. It’s so obvious I didn’t feel it needed a response…I guess i was wrong. I already employed the “rising tide lifts all boats” analogy. My point is to provide some minimal level of socioeconomic backdrop to “everyone” such that they can then better utilize or express whatever ability they have. Why? Because (thanks to Peter Schaeffer for pointing me to it yesterday, and I’ve summarized the findings of the Nisbett/Flynn paper on a comment lower down in this thread) socioeconomic factors matter in the expression of IQ, and thus, academic performance. So will a hispanic from a wealthy family deserve extra assistance? No. Would a hispanic from a poor family deserve such assistance? i would think so. Because some equalization of opportunity might actually provide for an equalization of outcome on an organic level, rather than from social engineering. I’m not an “advocate (who) reject(s) fine tuning because such individualisation doesn’t further mass political action”….so is it “fragile” of me to ask to defend only what I say, and not what some “advocate” says?

            chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Dickens/publication/221828051_Correction_to_nisbett_et_Al_2012/links/0a85e52debad0e0ac4000000/Correction-to-nisbett-et-Al-2012.pdf

            I don’t live in Brooklyn, or NY state for that matter, so I was unaware of the example you cited. If being up on every news story in every city is the metric for being “up” on stuff, then I’m definitely “not up”. Based on your description, that is an example of equalization of outcome. If you knew what “equalization of outcome” meant, you should already know that I would oppose that particular policy.

            Yes, school lunch programs already exist. But there is more to nutrition than one meal a day. Ironically, Ben Shapiro just made this point on a Salon interview I read this morning. And if you want to know why nutrition might matter, read that article I linked courtesy of P.S. So no, breakfast and lunch is not an exhaustive list, but I guess I need to be explicit with folk like you and EO. Would you like me to express it in meals per day? Per week? Calorie count? Let me know.

            You can be nihilist and defeatist all you want. Nope, too hard, can’t do it. To me, it’s a societal gain to invest in kids, and better still if it can help produce kids who might do better academically down the line, and improve not only their lot, and their family’s lot, but eventually on a societal scale as well. Y’know, lifting all boats again. I guess people on your end of spectrum don’t really believe in that sort of thing.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba and E. (“respond to every point”) Olson –
            in case my response to Peter from last night was TL;DR, this is my updated position in light of what I learned from Peter’s reading list…

            “There appears to be a small and progressively diminishing difference in IQ between whites and blacks on a group level, but whatever difference exists is due to something other than genetics. More likely, environmental differences exerted by social class explain these empiric IQ differences, and the attenuation of such environmental differences may well eliminate such IQ differences entirely.”

            Trigger warnings and safe spaces available upon request.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @S. Cheung

          You still don’t understand. We are not here to throw insults at each other. Have you noticed that Olson wants to discuss the subject with you? If you would stop spending most of your posts on insulting him perhaps you could get some work done discussing a difficult subject. Please stop wasting everyone’s time.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ray –
            I give as good as I get, and nothing more. If you perceive this to simply be a unidirectional situation, I submit that you are perceiving incorrectly.
            I haven’t addressed Olson directly, except for the one summation statement above, for over 24 hours, at least on this thread. I did make one brief response to him wrt pro-life demonstrators, but on another thread I believe.
            If he wants to weigh in on the summaries I have provided on this thread in the past 24 hours, that would be fine.
            At worse, I would think that a few extra rotations on the scroll wheel of your mouse, or flicks on your touch screen, would not be unduly burdensome.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ray-
            after having scrolled through the thread just now, it appears Olson has been everywhere. But he hasn’t made any response to the papers I’ve been referring to (h/t Peter Schaeffer) for more than 48 hours.

            “Have you noticed that Olson wants to discuss the subject with you?”
            —I would have to say your hypothesis is not supported by facts in evidence from the past 48 hrs. At this point, I’d be wagering on the null.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          Like a good centrist, I sympathize with what Cheung says, but must agree with what you say. Yes, for Christ’s sake, there are ‘socio-economic barriers’, and that’s a crying shame, but the rotten truth is that most of them come from the way that people are determined to live which inevitably leads to a vicious cycle that, Deus avertat, cannot be fixed by the stinking government.

          What we observe to be true is that any Identity that chooses to do so can overcome ‘socio-economic barriers’ within two generations if it merely chooses to do so. Asians were at one time as Oppressed as every other one of whitey’s Victims, but look at them now. Try as he might, whitey can’t keep you down if you refuse to stay down. And note that the Asians have received ZERO coddling from the government. No affirmative action, no quotas — nuts, the quotas are now outrageously against them. No laws against speaking bad words that insult Asians. To this day I can say ‘gook’ without going to jail. Soon enough we’ll all be working for gooks and chinks. I hope they take over sooner rather than later, we need saving from ourselves in the worst way.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – 99% of the world population was living on less than $2 per day (in today’s money) 200 years ago, so any differences we see since then are almost entirely due to genetics and culture, and culture is largely determined by genetics. And more recently, just look at how Vietnam boat people who arrived in the US in the 1970s with nothing have had huge success in “racist” America. Or look at the S. Koreans who were brutally treated by the Japanese until the end of WWII, and then almost wiped out by the North Koreans and Chinese in the Korean war, and are now among the most prosperous people in the world. Or the Poles who were almost wiped out by the Germans and Russians during WWII, lived under brutal Soviet oppression until 30 years ago, and now have one of the fast growing economies in Europe. Yes, slavery and Jim Crow were tough on blacks, but those ended 60 to 160 years ago, and if anything blacks have gone backwards compared to whites, Asians, and even Hispanics since then. When you see so many other people who have overcome terrible tragedy and discrimination to make real economic and cultural progress, it is hard to argue against the idea that most of the problems of black America are self-inflicted, including their continued insistence of being coddled and winning the victim wars.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Equality of opportunity is equally absurd. How can 7.5 billion people spread over Earth, from tiny villages to mega-metropolises, from stupid people to smart people, from hard workers to lazy folks, from healthy to ill, from rich to poor, from handsome to ugly, ever hope to have equal opportunities?
        The only real equality is equal protection under the law, and we can’t even do that yet.
        There was no reason to free the slaves or give them the right to vote in the Constitution, and the same for women to vote; it could just have been announced as the correct interpretation of the existing Constitution (like how we didn’t need to amend the constitution for legal abortion or gay marriage). That we changed the document suggests that blacks and women were not in fact people or citizens with already established rights.

        • S. Cheung says

          David – equality of opportunity can be absurd if you take it to absurd extremes. So…ummm…if your point is that absurdities like yours are absurd…..I agree…?
          But back in non-absurd reality, a merit-based reality is itself an equality of opportunity. You should be able to go as far as your aptitude takes you, where a test score is one metric for quantifying that aptitude. And nowhere have I, or anyone, suggested that it should be a codified thing; I’ve simply said it is a principle I support.
          I further suggest that the expression of your aptitude is more than strictly a function of that aptitude in and of itself. I think it’s infantile fantasy, or a ridiculous lack of life experience/empathy, to suggest that “If they are academically strong, they’d likely do well no matter what.” – yet here you are.

          And what is with the fragility of people on this board wrt some of these concepts? Question some people’s race-based thought chambers, and they lose the ability to read, or “think” (used in the very loosest definition of the concept).

          • Defenstrator says

            I haven’t noticed a lot of fragility. I have noticed you like to name call and dodge questions. So far I have not seen any open mindedness from you or ideas that push people out of their comfort zones. In fact, the little actual content in between the insults Is not anything that has not been heard before. Perhaps the issue is poor communication skills on your part, rather than the reading skills of everyone else?

        • Rob Curry-Smithson says

          “There was no reason to free the slaves or give them the right to vote in the Constitution, and the same for women to vote; it could just have been announced as the correct interpretation of the existing Constitution (like how we didn’t need to amend the constitution for legal abortion or gay marriage). That we changed the document suggests that blacks and women were not in fact people or citizens with already established rights.”

          To be clear, the 14th amendment is why we now interpret the equal right of gay people to marriage. That was one of the civil war amendments (after the one that ended slavery) meant to protect freedmen from things like the black codes. It was the first tume “equal” was added to the constitution. The lack of equaluty in the pro slavery constutution was why Abraham Linciln said “4 score and 7 years ago…” He was referencing the Declaration of Independence (not the 1787 Constitution) which did proclaim equality. Please review your APUSH course notes and rewrite your short response paragraph for an improved grade. I dont think this reflects your best effort.

        • ga gamba says

          You make a point, David. It is true that the average Brit has many more opportunities than the average Bangladeshi. In the same country, rural people have different opportunities than urbanities; some may be equal in some regards and unequal in others. Lazy people are given the same opportunity as diligent people, they just fail to make use of it.

          When we talk about opportunity, is it what the state provides, what the family provides, or both?

          Should I be given the opportunity to go to school? Yes, the stupid people and the smart people are indeed provided the opportunity to do so. Even special schools are built and staffed to attend to the needs of the very smart and the disabled. For me, this meets the requirement. For others, it doesn’t go far enough because it fails to address other inequities.
          Am I given the same opportunity if the school also doesn’t have a demographic mix of students and teachers representative to my ethnicity, race, or income status? Yet, if I’m low-income, how do I get my representation of low-income teachers?

          “Equal protection under the law” is what then? I’m provided the right to go to school? Or is my esteem and dignity harmed, i.e. not protected, when all my classmates and teachers don’t look like me or have my economic status?

          We can really go down the rabbit hole with this.

          At the heart of the issue is how far ought state intervention go. The taxpayer already provides many opportunities, public education for example. However, because each child is not equally placed situationally due to his/her parents, and some of these parents choose to provide more opportunities, there arises the demand for additional state intervention. The state must provide what the parent does not. Yet, could the state replace engaged parents, some of whom are hyperactively so? Impossible, I think. If the state is unable to provide commensurate opportunities some parents provide, then some type of measures must be emplaced that harms some of those with more merit, i.e. higher test scores, to the benefit of those with less merit.

          The magnet schools arose in large part to aid poor and working-class people with a lot of intelligence to catch up with those students at elite private schools who were streamlined into elite universities. Many regular schools, which taught to a lower and slower standard to accommodate the masses, were ill fitted to this purpose. Magnet schools probably also helped cities retain many middle-class families – taxpayers – who could have opted to move to the suburbs to find better public schools than offered in the cities.

          Appears now a redefinition and repurposing of magnet schools is occurring. Eventually urban taxpayers may realise they are funding a system that does their own children harm, so they’ll defect either to private schools or the suburbs. What this may also do is cause gentrification to slow and lower home values.

          The “problem” in Brooklyn’s school district I mentioned in another comment was due in large part to an influx of white and Asians into what had once been largely Hispanic and black areas. The Asian and white children had better grades and higher test scores, so they tended to concentrate themselves in schools with higher standards and closer to their neighbourhoods. Success begets success.

          Fortunately, it’s been proved sitting beside a smart Asian student makes one also smart, so as Brooklyn redistributes the students and begins to transform magnet schools into regular schools, the mind melding and transfer of intelligence and knowledge will occur.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga gamba –
            “Or is my esteem and dignity harmed, i.e. not protected, when all my classmates and teachers don’t look like me or have my economic status?”
            There definitely seems to be a blind spot for you with the concept of “equality of opportunity”. But if arguing against the most absurd manifestation of a concept is how you need to function, then that is your right, and this is your “opportunity”.
            I would certainly not consider a teacher of a different race, or classmates from wealthier families, to unduly restrict my opportunity. But if my socioeconomic status fails to provide me with the basics necessary to learn at school (and once again, i don’t have a laundry list, so the concept itself will have to do), then I think that does impact the opportunity that I have, or my ability to fully utilize it. And yes, building schools for poor kids is very altruistic of you….is it too much to ask that you also help provide the poor kids who populate that school you just built for them with some level of support to allow them to learn more effectively?

            “However, because each child is not equally placed situationally due to his/her parents, and some of these parents choose to provide more opportunities,…”
            Are you striving for levels of absurdity once again? I would be referring to basic things as a concept, and not world travel, or country club memberships. Not enrichment; just necessities. I would think reasonable people can agree on which is which, but perhaps I should look elsewhere.

            “If the state is unable to provide commensurate opportunities some parents provide, then some type of measures must be emplaced that harms some of those with more merit, i.e. higher test scores, to the benefit of those with less merit.”
            I would like to seek clarification on your meaning here. Are you saying that rich kids would be harmed by poor kids being assisted to do better, because it lessens their advantage?

          • ga gamba says

            I would like to seek clarification on your meaning here. Are you saying that rich kids would be harmed by poor kids being assisted to do better, because it lessens their advantage?

            Did you fail to read this article?

            And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for overhauling the admissions process in a way that would boost admissions for blacks and Hispanics at the expense of whites and Asians.

            Lemme break it down for you. Each school has a finite number of seats to allocate. Presently NYC’s magnet high schools allocate these on merit. Merit is measured by test scores, grades, auditions (for the performance arts) and the like. Progressives argue that the wealthier students have more advantages because their parents invest in their educations. This parenting is unfair. Of course this ignores the many, many Asian immigrants who arrived with little and found ways to provide educational resources to their children, whether it was the mum seated at the table for hours supervising her children doing their homework or belonging to ethnically-based churches and associations that provided tutoring and other services. Instead of whingeing about disparities, they actually created solutions that proved successful. Remarkably so. I understand that such effort is also common amongst Caribbean immigrants.

            When these measures of merit are removed, as they are for all the students at Brooklyn’s School District 15, and are replaced by reservations based exclusively on socioeconomic measures, who do you think is being harmed? A large number of students who had qualifying marks will be sent to other schools simply because their parents earn too much or are English speakers. Does this strike you as just?

            What it strikes me as an effort to subvert initiative, competitiveness, good parenting, and many other noble characteristics. What happened to good ol’ gumption?

            Reading your comments, it appears to me you have a poor grasp of all the arguments made in favour of positive discrimination schemes. Like, you’re a newbie entering the conversation that’s well beyond your knowledge. For example, you think this is absurd: “Or is my esteem and dignity harmed, i.e. not protected, when all my classmates and teachers don’t look like me or have my economic status?” Progressives have long asserted that minority students who don’t attend schools with fellow minorities and who don’t have minority teachers are harmed. In fact, one of the frequent demands by activists is hiring more minority teachers to undo the harm of marginalisation. This is bog-standard stuff. That blind spot… it’s yours. You don’t know and instead of finding out you dismiss it out of hand.

            And yes, building schools for poor kids is very altruistic of you

            I said nothing of “building schools for poor kids”. This is your fabrication.

            world travel, or country club memberships.

            I said nothing of “world travel” and “country club memberships”. This is another of your fabrications.

            Is it reasonable for the reasonable person that you think you are you concoct such bullshit to deflect attention off of your inability to provide examples of the basics that are not being provided?

            But if my socioeconomic status fails to provide me with the basics necessary to learn at school (and once again, i don’t have a laundry list, so the concept itself will have to do)

            Are the basics a laundry list? I suppose it depends on what one deems to be basic. When you mentioned food, and E.O correctly mentioned that nutritional programmes exist, you lost your shit. In addition to school lunch many schools also provide school breakfast. Would you like them to provide mid-afternoon snacks as well? Fruit roll up is ok? There are the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). These are federal; states and cities also have their programmes.

            Sadly, there’s no National Yezzy Trainers for All (NYTA) programme. Would you like to propose it? How about Second Pen for America’s Children (SPAC)? Supplemental Umbrella For The One Lost On The Train (SUFTOLOTT) programme?

            It’s not my job to read your mind and figure out what you mean by “the basics”. However, as you have found when you mentioned some examples of “the basics” not existing commentators here rebutted it with info that these in fact do exist. I encourage you to dig deeper to learn what you don’t know so that you can offer better informed comments rather than scrambling around attacking people for the failings that are yours alone.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba-
            “Did you fail to read this article?” —umm, no, since I made one of the first comments after the OP was posted. What I failed to do, however, was commit it to memory, or to re-read before each of your comments, cuz apparently it’s back to the article now rather than continuing with previous train of comments. Alrighty then.

            So then I’d just refer you back to my original comment, in response to the Blasio statement in the OP: “Equality of outcomes, as Jordan Petersen likes to say, is for idiots.”

            And I’ll just ignore your P1, since it’s just some cockamamie paraphrasing of the article, on which I had already commented 2 days ago.

            Your P2 is a repeat of your point about Brooklyn SD 15, to which I had earlier already said “Based on your description, that is an example of equalization of outcome. If you knew what “equalization of outcome” meant, you should already know that I would oppose that particular policy.” So, ummm, consider me to have just said it again.

            “Progressives have long asserted that minority students who don’t attend schools with fellow minorities and who don’t have minority teachers are harmed”
            I think that’s fantastic. Did I say somewhere that I’m the local rep for all progressives? You ascribe generic points to me based on tribal association that I’m apparently supposed to share and/or defend, and when I don’t espouse them, you get all bent out of shape and huffy. Listen, if you want to do your identity politics song and dance, like, all the time, that’s great, but I’m not obliged to fulfill your tribal fantasies.

            “I said nothing of “building schools for poor kids”. This is your fabrication.”
            —you are correct. My mistake. You said “the stupid people and the smart people” and “the very smart and the disabled”.

            “I said nothing of “world travel” and “country club memberships”.”
            —Umm, read the bloody sentence, will you? I said ” I would be referring to basic things as a concept, and not world travel, or country club memberships.”. There is no attempt to ascribe those words to you. It’s a reference to a mocking comment I made on Mar 23 towards you: “Your “languages” point is more comedy than thought provoking. Y’know, they say that world travel broadens horizons, opens minds, and creates more well-rounded individuals….perhaps an equality of opportunity would require that all kids get to travel the world before middle-school…..of course that is patently ridiculous.” So I think you need to calm the heck down, and read entire paragraphs, or at least sentences, to gain some context, before flipping your gourd. Sheesh. You might need professional help.

            “It’s not my job to read your mind and figure out what you mean by “the basics”.”
            —evidently not. Apparently, also not your job to read links provided in my earlier comment to you today, to Nisbett’s 2014 paper Intelligence – New Frontiers and Theoretical Developments (h/t to Peter Schaeffer). Cuz if you did, you would find the importance they ascribe to socioeconomic status and environmental factors on IQ, but they do not specify which factors to correct except for eliminating “discrimination in jobs and housing”. They also list some specialized school programs, which are in the article. And like I also said earlier, quoting Ben Shapiro of all people, nutrition is more than just brekky, or lunch. Since Nisbett is the expert, and not me, I referred you to the article. But instead of educating yourself like I did, you just rant about fruit roll ups.

            One thing I do know, is that I wouldn’t lump you in with any particular tribe. You should be studied as a de novo case of whatever it is that you’ve got, and you seem to have got it bad.

            Then once you have that sorted, go read the earlier comment from today, and maybe read the article too. Bring your pal Olson too. And see how genetics plays no role, and it’s down to socioeconomic differences. You’re welcome.

          • Stephanie says

            S. Cheung, your comments contain too much ranting and not enough specifics. Everyone has been trying to get you to be specific on what exactly you are calling for. The role of food and heating you’ve given have been thoroughly debunked. You don’t need to provide a “laundry list,” just a few examples of the problems you seem to think are obvious and realistic proposed solutions.

            You’ve broadened out from regular meals to nutrition, so how do you expect the government to intervene in this matter? Levy heavy taxes on fast food? Discourage working mothers, so home-cooked meals become the norm in these communities? Making adherence to the food guide mandatory?

            As for the availability of appropriate study spaces, I am quite certain minority students already have equal access to public libraries. I don’t see why studying at home should not be sufficient, either.

            Aside from government micromanaging people’s food choices, what should the government do to make “opportunity” equal?

          • ga gamba says

            What I failed to do, however, was commit it to memory,

            You don’t have to do that. Simply scroll up.

            Remember your request? “I would like to seek clarification on your meaning here. Are you saying that rich kids would be harmed by poor kids being assisted to do better, because it lessens their advantage?”

            My comment again about district 15 was in response to your question. When you ask for clarification, and it’s provided, it strikes me as underhanded then to attack the person for providing it. That’s some peculiar behavior.

            Did I say somewhere that I’m the local rep for all progressives?

            No, you didn’t. Did I say you were? Be assured that when I’m speaking about you, I use the second person pronoun.

            You ascribe generic points to me based on tribal association that I’m apparently supposed to share and/or defend, and when I don’t espouse them, you get all bent out of shape and huffy.

            I did nothing of the kind. I explained to you what progressives had asserted. That you think I attached this to you is a misread on your part. You’re really getting worked up. Remember the thin skin I mentioned? Keep it in mind. Toughen up, chum.

            I provided that explanation, one you now complain about, to you because you dismissed the idea people are complaining about being harmed by being unrepresented in the demographics of fellow students and teachers. I never once said this was you, your team, your tribe, your associates, your comrades, or anyone else in proximity to you. They do share the planet with you, but I attache no significance to this. It’s a coincidence. Please, get a grip.

            This is the link you gave me: chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Dickens/publication/221828051_Correction_to_nisbett_et_Al_2012/links/0a85e52debad0e0ac4000000/Correction-to-nisbett-et-Al-2012.pdf

            That’s a broken link. You ought to examine what you’re posting because it appears you may being using some kind of extension (see the chrome-extension?). This is the correct link, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Dickens/publication/221828051_Correction_to_nisbett_et_Al_2012/links/0a85e52debad0e0ac4000000/Correction-to-nisbett-et-Al-2012.pdf

            Firstly, I was not making an argument about IQ. In fact, I never mentioned it once. Secondly, I did read it. Thirdly, the science is in flux. I take the view that it’s both nature (IQ) and nurturing.

            You keep mentioning food and nutrition. I agree, it’s important. EO, me, and maybe some others, have all mentioned that this is addressed by variety of government programmes that have long existed. So, we asked you what else? And you got defensive, declared you wouldn’t provide a laundry list, and have gone on to these rants. You got caught with your pants down. It happens. And you could have recovered by offering something. Still, it’s amusing to read because I find it astonishing you can’t conjure up something – I even offered you Umbrellas Over America, Fruit Roll Ups for Freedom, or something similar. Anyway, I’ll take my entertainment where I can get it.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @ga gamba

            “the mind melding and transfer of intelligence and knowledge will occur”

            For once you say something that I’d call lefty-illusional. I predict that what will actually happen is that the magnet schools will become all too ‘regular’ — entirely dysfunctional — and that the bright students will have to migrate once again to find a place where they are not being dragged down. Unfortunately I think that the ‘makes one also smart’ has an equal and opposite pull in the other direction.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @David of Kirkland

          “The only real equality is equal protection under the law, and we can’t even do that yet.”

          It has ceased to even be a goal. In the last couple of decades the goal of equal protection has been replaced with the goal of affirmative protection so as to achieve equal outcomes. The final farce will be when Nobel Prizes must be awarded Equitably and thus the Prize for Physics will go to some black trans-lady who — Equitron has computed it — has never heard of Albert Einstein.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba-
            Ok, so in reading your current response to me, I understand now that the first half of your previous response still essentially refers to points made in the OP. I’ve already said I oppose equality of outcome repeatedly over a number of days, ever since my initial comment on this thread. That will not change with further permutations of the theme. Perhaps that no longer needs to be addressed moving forward, at least with me.

            “That you think I attached this to you is a misread on your part.”— when you said:
            “Progressives have long asserted that minority students who don’t attend schools with fellow minorities and who don’t have minority teachers are harmed. In fact, one of the frequent demands by activists is hiring more minority teachers to undo the harm of marginalisation. This is bog-standard stuff. That blind spot… it’s yours. You don’t know and instead of finding out you dismiss it out of hand.”… it sounded like those ideas were being ascribed to me, or that somehow I should be familiar with all the arguments that other people make. If that was not your intent, then my apologies.

            The link I provided is how the pdf opens in my browser. If it doesn’t work in yours, then thanks for tracking it down, and reading it.

            “the science is in flux. I take the view that it’s both nature (IQ) and nurturing.”
            — I can accept that. I would further add that the science seems to suggest that whatever effect is exerted by nature can be overcome by nurture. What has no basis is to suggest that IQ is somehow “settled science”, and that the science points to “genetics”. If you don’t hold that view, then we do not disagree on that point.

            “You keep mentioning food and nutrition.”
            —actually, I made a one-sentence remark about it, and everything else has been to respond to the riffing that you and others have found necessary. So if you’ve read the Nisbett article, I suggest reading that Neisser article recommended by Peter Schaeffer, further down on this thread. I have summarized the take-homes previously. As for “what else”, I have summarized the “laundry list” in my response to Stephanie’s comment yesterday, just below this one. That itself has been up for over 12 hours. I have also been referring to those papers for 48 hours or more to those who wanted to know “what else”. If you wanted to know what else…they were there for you…yet here you still are. At least you’ve read one paper; perhaps another? But they’re not my answers, cuz I’m not qualified to have answers on this topic, nor is anyone on this board so far as I can tell. So there’s no point in me “conjuring up” some, but to rather go to what the science suggests. For all the peanut gallery bellowing about how I didn’t provide the “what else”, yet didn’t read what was available and referenced to on this thread to find out, I would suggest they are more interested in navel gazing or keeping their head in the sand. And no, fruit roll ups and umbrellas are likely insufficient. See, this issue has bedeviled us for decades, and the quick fixes some, including you, seem to clamor for are likely not on offer. So I will leave you to your reading, and to seeking the answers to the questions you ask from a valid source. I’m flattered by your presumption that somehow, i would have the answers for you on how to solve the socioeconomic factors that result in IQ disparity, here on a public blog. But I do question your judgement, the vigor with which you pursue scientific inquiry, and the effectiveness of your chosen methods.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Spending tax dollars to benefit a few may not be well spent at all. If they are academically strong, they’d likely do well no matter what. Also, while education is generally good, it can also lead to troubles (most of the greatest crimes and wars had so-called educated leaders).
      It’s unclear that the common good is truly served by creating special government solutions for the few.

      • Chris says

        @DoK Would “special government solutions for the few” include the US Affirmative Action program on university admissions. If you have a problem with intelligent people benefiting ‘unfairly’ from education, continuing to deny them access to equal opportunity education is immoral, unethical and not a fix.

      • ga gamba says

        Spending tax dollars to benefit a few may not be well spent at all. If they are academically strong, they’d likely do well no matter what.

        With your finite resource suitable for five high schools, do you build five providing standardised fare? Or, do you build one for the gifted, two for the normies. one for the technically inclined to learn a trade, and the last to handle those who require special attention due to disabilities and other issues?

        Yes, the bright will likely do well, though some find the curriculum and pace boring. The raison d’etre was that you pool together the very gifted and let them flourish in ways they couldn’t do so when in an environment standardised to a lower standard. And face facts, often the very gifted are tormented in regular school. I think the German educational system does well to identify and segregate students based on their aptitudes. The problem the US has is the racial facet that outshines all others and demands it be centered exclusively. As soon as a disparity is perceived it becomes racialised and they’re rushing down the well trod path of ill-conceived solutions and sub-par outcomes.

        most of the greatest crimes and wars had so-called educated leaders

        I think you have to substantiate that. Of the big three, Hitler went to technical high school and did poorly, Stalin went to seminary school as a teen, and Mao made it through teacher’s college. Millions more attended technical high schools, seminaries, and teacher’s colleges without later misdeeds to include great crimes.

        Of the notable criminals who were well-educated, probably Pol Pot’s associates were that.

        You can find people like Dr Mengele, who was well educated, but contrast him to the millions of doctors who did nothing like Mengele. I think for that assertion to be proved valid you’d need a very large number of Dr Mengeles to exist to substantiate something is malignant in medical school. They seem to be very much an anomaly, which indicates to me their evil was not from the education they received, rather they used their educations to perpetrate evil that long existed in them.

      • S. Cheung says

        Stephanie,
        I feel I have merely matched tones at the comments made to me. If someone rants at me, then I rant back.
        I’m not an expert in education. I started with an opinion, took advantage of Peter Schaeffer directing me to some useful papers, and modified my opinion accordingly. And I’ve described that opinion, which flies in the face of the orthodoxy some on this board espouse, or prefer. What i don’t proclaim is to possess easy answers. And yet the standard suddenly seems to be that I should resolve the issue forthwith, on a blog, that has escaped solution in our society for decades.
        I have summarized the papers yesterday, further down in this comments section. If I can read them, so can others. And I’ve suggested it several times today already. The Nisbett paper, as mentioned, is devoid of specifics on how to lessen the socioeconomic gap that they believe accounts for the small racial differences in IQ, and in so doing can presumably abolish any differences, which have been progressively shrinking, that still remain.
        Neisser’s “Intelligence – Knowns and Unknowns” from 1996 has some broad strokes. It speaks of school attendance and avoidance of schooling interruption; school teaching styles (stressing problem solving skills rather than rote recall); school and teacher minimum quality standards; “head start” programs starting at preschool age, perhaps as early as age 2; “minimum level of responsible care” in the home environment; prenatal care (including attempts to reduce incidence of low birthweight babies); prenatal malnutrition (of the mother): micro-nutrient supplements; dietary protein supplements in pregnancy; avoidance of ambient lead exposure; and some others still. Some of these are already in effect, which may explain why race differences in IQ have diminished from mid-teens to single digits since 1990, in line with what the authors submit to be the reason for any such observed racial differences (ie. based on socioeconomic and environmental factors, and not genetics). These are also not my ideas, obviously. They’re also a bit more nuanced than “fruit roll ups”. And certainly not conducive to a silver-bullet solution.

        But the Olson’s and Gamba’s of the world will want to hold fast to their genetics theory cuz that undergirds their worldview. So maybe I just should’ve said CRISPR cas 9 is the quick and easy solution they should go after in time.

        • ga gamba says

          But the Olson’s and Gamba’s of the world will want to hold fast to their genetics theory

          You know, it’s a very odd statement because I haven’t mentioned genetics once. In a comment I just posted before this, so about 10 minutes ago, I mentioned IQ for the first time when I wrote I take the view it’s both nature (IQ) and nurturing.

          These accusations about miscomprehension… you might want to look in the mirror.

          In the end, I think you got upset because I mocked your “yes, but” and thereafter you’ve been on an attack saying things that I haven’t said and asserting I misunderstand words and concepts. It’s bluster intended to wrong foot the person into a defensive posture. I suspect it’s the attempt to paint me as the person you are.

          It’s transparent and I doubt it’s fooling most readers. But carry on if you like.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba,
            alright, so I just finished dispensing with your earlier remarks. Glad you’ve located my response to Stephanie, which I just alluded to in my recent response to you.

            Given your current stated position, i retract any reference to you and the “genetics theory”, and will leave it just for the other guy. And hopefully it should be clear that we agree on equality of outcomes.

            So now that you’ve familiarized yourself with “the list”, and better yet have read the Neisser paper, then maybe that can serve as a new starting point. More science and less navel gazing; more objective data and valid hypotheses, and less conjuring. I think those are things worth striving for, don’t you?

            While you’re parsing the Neisser paper, me’thinks I’ll go get me one of them fruit roll ups you keep talking about.

          • S. Cheung says

            Ga Gamba,
            We don’t see eye to eye. But I appreciate your gesture on the other thread, and for giving me the benefit of the doubt that I’m not here to call people Nazis.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @David of Kirkland

        “(most of the greatest crimes and wars had so-called educated leaders).”

        Hitler, Stalin, Mao? Someone might have better information, but I understand that none of those gentlemen were educated beyond the most rudimentary level.

    • Chris says

      The crunch is, actions: are we to continue to deny that equality of opportunity until nobody claims, however unreasonably, that their failure is due to remnant socioeconomic barriers.

      Where is the balance of net benefit in society today?

    • The author of the article wrote “…. I’m not certain about why members of these two groups have managed to score high on admission exams year after year,….”

      Cognitive ability is highly heritable; the single strongest predictor of a child’s IQ is the IQ of the child’s parents. There is also a correlation between income and IQ. That means smarter than average parents are likely to have smarter than average kids and higher than average incomes.

      Kids go to ‘better’ schools because their parents are intelligent enough to earn enough money to live in towns with ‘great’ schools. This has been shown without doubt by behavior genetics research over the last few decades

      • markbul says

        What he said. Of course, this is exactly what never gets said in the field of education. I just read through the summary document of the Congressionally required national study of adult literacy that was done in the early 2000s. When I searched for the word ‘intelligence,’ it did not come up.

        Black students do not get into prestige schools because they are not sufficiently intelligent to have learned the required knowledge and skills The End.

  3. E. Olson says

    “…even as the group with disproportionately high representation has switched from Jewish to Asian over that period. Both these groups were minorities, and both have been subject to discrimination, each having endured limited economic standing at the time they came to dominate these selective schools. I’m not certain about why members of these two groups have managed to score high on admission exams year after year, but I expect that one factor has been the attitude of their families toward academic achievement. What is certainly clear is that these schools have allowed students like me to enjoy a rigorous academic environment, surrounded by others who embraced the same values…”

    The author strikes me as a very intelligent man and yet he can’t figure out why Jews and Asians are over-represented in elite public schools. Strange that he would never consider the higher average IQ that Jews and Asians are known to have as a very logical explanation of not only their disproportionate elite school attendance, but also the family culture promoting academic achievement. Would it really help a kid with an IQ of 90 to be pushed by his family to attend an elite school where all the kids have IQs north of 120? And what would happen if a group of these below average IQ kids were somehow let into such a school? Is there “magic” dirt under the school foundation that would transform them into bright and inquisitive scholars, or would they come to resent their “dunce” status and start to disrupt the classroom with various acting-out misbehavior and violence? Would there then be pressure to “dumb down” the curriculum so that the less bright students could do better in class and improve their self-esteem? Might this lead to the transfer of more and more of the better instructors and brighter students to private schools to avoid the disruptions and less rigorous coursework that accompany the weaker student attendance at public “elite” schools? Would these public “elite” schools eventually turn into just another mediocre public school, which are mediocre not because of lack of resources, but because they face the task of trying to educate students who are not very bright or motivated?

    The explanation for the problems discussed by this interesting article are very well known and relatively simple to solve, but the author like so many others in the educational establishment can’t handle the truth that IQ is not evenly distributed across different racial and ethnic groups, which is something no school or curriculum will ever solve.

      • ga gamba says

        And American education spending per student (both federal and state) is amongst the tops in the OECD. Not by a little either. It was more 30% above the OECD average. Of the 36 members, the US spent the third most per primary school student and fourth most per secondary school student (2015 data).

        This places New York City amongst the world’s top financiers of shitty outcomes.

        Luxembourg spends more, but wins fewer shitty outcomes for its people. You can’t have social justice without maximising those.

        • Peter Schaeffer says

          GG, Given that U.S. per-capita GDP is higher than the OECD average, you would expect the U.S. to spend more per-student. Teaching is labor intensive and Baumol’s law certainly applies to education.

          A more serious point is that per-student spending has soared since 1960 in real terms and test score have not. See NCES table 194. Note that spending has rise far faster than teacher salaries (so Baumol’s law doesn’t explain the cost increase).

        • Chad Chen says

          The two of you need a course in economics. The “high” spending on education in New York City is because the cost of everything in New York City is very high. You are caught up in money illusion. In fact, the real resources devoted to education in the City are not impressive at all. Most of the buildings are old and most of the teachers are union soldiers. Spending on security soaks up a lot of the budget.

      • Peter Schaeffer says

        EO,

        “NYC spending on public schools is highest in the nation – so this is not a lack of resource issue.”

        No. DC spends considerably more per-student. Don’t worry. The results are utterly dismal.I have been kicked off liberal/left websites for simply posting the per-student numbers for DC and NYC.

    • Daz says

      E.O

      “Strange that he would never consider the higher average IQ that Jews and Asians are known to have as a very logical explanation of not only their disproportionate elite school attendance, but also the family culture promoting academic achievement.”

      He did sort of say that.

      ” Both these groups were minorities, and both have been subject to discrimination, each having endured limited economic standing at the time they came to dominate these selective schools. I’m not certain about why members of these two groups have managed to score high on admission exams year after year, but I expect that one factor has been the attitude of their families toward academic achievement. “

      • E. Olson says

        Daz – the author does not mention IQ even once, and only uses the word “intelligence” in reference to his former fellow students in 1961-64. He certainly does not link IQ or intelligence to a family culture promoting academic achievement, but he should have as I argue. He also does not mention that non-Jewish or non-Asian students are likely to have lower IQs, which is likely the biggest single explanatory factory in their lack of presence in the elite high schools of NYC.

        • I am an immigrant from Europe (non-jewish and non-asian) and yet I enjoy a (highly) successful career in biomedical research. I am also the first member of my entire family to ever go to university (my brother tis the second) and receive a higher education – why: because my parents always wanted me and my brother to have a better life and because I learned from them how important diligence and hard work is. We also always stuck together as a family, in good, bad, and ugly times! In my opinion, if we want to help the black community, we need to help restore the integrity of the black family, as suggested by Thomas Sowell. You should read how he got his PhD from Harvard. Finally, you comment “…that non-Jewish or non-Asian students are likely to have lower IQ…” is racist and not supported by any scientific data.

          • E. Olson says

            PM – congratulations on your educational success and luck in having parents with good genes and good parenting skills, and the American taxpayers thank you for your tax contributions from your successful career. But if you are working in bio-medical research it is very surprising you are not aware of the loads of research going back many decades that indeed demonstrate significant IQ differences between racial/ethnic groups (see links). Thomas Sowell is an excellent example of why group means should not be used to judge the intelligence of individuals, and I agree with him that the breakdown of the black family has had major detrimental effects, but probably not on IQ.

            https://pumpkinperson.com/2015/06/08/the-highest-iq-in-each-race/

            http://human-stupidity.com/stupid-dogma/racial-differences-intelligence/race-differences-in-intelligence-how-i-changed-my-mind

          • markbul says

            “Finally, you comment “…that non-Jewish or non-Asian students are likely to have lower IQ…” is racist and not supported by any scientific data.”

            Quite the opposite – it is a well-established fact. And you, obviously, have never actually read the science. Many papers are availble as pdf files online, and many books are available from your local library. No doubt, you will never bother actually reading them. Yet you will go on pronouncing on ‘science’ with certainty.

        • asdf says

          Read between the lines…

          The problem is that by not naming it, at best you can pass the problem off to someone else. “We are not preparing them properly” becomes an excuse to meddle in other schools in order to prepare them.

    • S. Cheung says

      E. Olson – you really do beat that racial differences in IQ thing. It seems to be one of your religions, along with climate change denial. Unfortunately, in both realms, the topics have been politicized to the point where you can find “evidence” to support just about any position you want.
      Just as an example: (and I’m by far not even a beginner in these fields, so just google for me)

      chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-ws4-capi2-distribution-p.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/books/9780203056639/HUBPMP/9781136557804_previewPDF.pdf?response-content-disposition=attachment%3B%20filename%3D%229780203056639_googlepreview.pdf%22&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&x-amz-security-token=FQoGZXIvYXdzEBIaDFVk%2BDgSqWcAvuAlvyK3A4BHEHdmnjCNsvZLi9hl8ZSyB4SyF%2BL1LR%2F2xRjWi%2F6fDP7DWyFRtMBZUILxgDbb0%2BAsTlQoFgs8HOYy%2Frhs0QI%2Bi4rYHEa%2Fy%2FVCXBzm%2FFu4GKx%2FcZJaY5AFP4xEiktAg%2FN3Q5oQkeTvmV14R4a8WgdLeQofa0Hhq9nXubCAzy5y%2Fw8qGiwCZ8EJYdFzyf7YmTb0xM0O70L2YowOBje1eUxW5JZ342ZoBerpK8g1JHqJANE%2BdLUy4JxY513%2FpZpAoPDPvUJ%2BCN8aFsCv6bmdal3aEzXRRuxsOkiYNxB8U3EVy%2F%2B52cUFufmP6%2FvD3xIstjABOUKw5fLgoFuYMECU3jyPGqzBiUFopEmZSOisAquoYAEyb5lbyLwaGbch6aTshiZMxNCxAyqsOfDRTy5czg%2BI3UQOXzOy3W%2FbDIs5Gw2JQgLSUNPqdeHnzIXDUdhzdaqG3rFFWJcfkppiJIvVne3EvZruW5QajlYZeZnxAmCn4rdH2MwkXNik4BV33EYb55mZRVC5zFZVkKbwh5AnAJj50j6VJqNlpv3DSh4T9anBB2WPCeOG5gjbKGASwurhHmgLGgAz4bEoocHZ5AU%3D&AWSAccessKeyId=ASIAQFVOSJ577TIY5RNF&Expires=1553969526&Signature=lNdLHjCjKlTobSio5v0gyMiz%2Fbw%3D

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886916303099

      So it is conceivable that your POV on IQ is not settled science. That notwithstanding, trends on a population level, even if present, have essentially no bearing on individual performance (unless you assert that not only do blacks in general have lower IQ, but every black has lower IQ —and I don’t think even a true believer like you would say that). If a kid meets the bar for getting into one of these schools, then he/she should get in, regardless of race. I think that’s essentially what the author advocates for. I don’t think that’s particularly controversial or objectionable.

      “can’t handle the truth that IQ is not evenly distributed across different racial and ethnic groups”
      —that is no doubt your truth. It seems not entirely settled that that is THE truth.

      • E. Olson says

        S. Chueng – IQ is the most settled science in the social sciences, but further research on the topic is often blocked because of fears that the results will be seen as racist or sexist. IQ tests have been validated in more samples and contexts than any other social science construct, and they have proven to be the most predictive single indicator of life success across all types of samples and contexts. All studies find that blacks have lower IQs on average than any other racial group, but individual blacks can be very smart (see Thomas Sowell as one current example). The problem is that lower average IQ means there will be fewer genius blacks than genius whites or genius Asians or genius Jews, and the elite schools are supposed to be taking geniuses, which means relatively few blacks will be eligible unless they are given special treatment (aka affirmative action or racial quotas). Nobody is trying to keep black or Hispanics out of the elite schools, in fact it is the very opposite, but there are very few that meet the same requirements that other racial groups must meet. The only racism at elite schools these days is racism against Asians and low socio-economic background whites.

        • S. Cheung says

          E.Olson – “IQ is the most settled science in the social sciences”
          Well that depends on being more precise about what you’re referring to, doesn’t it? The concept of IQ itself? Sure. But raced-based assertions, and certain claims from certain quarters that it is up to 80% genetics-based? Like I said, even a very cursory search found numerous rebuttals of that stance. That you hold to such ideas inside your head like a core Newtonian truth doesn’t necessarily make them so beyond that jurisdiction. But I do agree that the current climate makes it impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff.
          My position all along is that it should be a more holistic view of IQ, not simply as some inherent genetic/racial characteristic, but one whose manifestation on testing reflects all the socioeconomic backdrop that each individual brings to bear.
          In the irony of ironies, at least for today, in your worldview, i would think “low socio-economic background whites” already possess all the inherent IQ advantages they need. If “socio-economics” might be an issue for whites, is it conceivable that it might be issue for others as well?

      • E. Olson, markbul – I do read the scientific literature and, as far a I can tell, there is no compelling(!) scientific evidence for significant racial differences in IQ.

        Here are two more thoughts: first, with the advent of modern whole genome sequencing, it is becoming increasingly clear that historic designations of race/ethnicities are blurry to say the least (see the elegant work by David Reich and others in the field). If, according to this emerging research, there are no clearly defined genetic races/ethnicities, how can we link IQ (which is based on a middle class, education-heavy test) to genetic differences between populations?

        Second, as you can see from the article by Jeff Flier, in the 1960s, there was a dominance of Jewish kids (although in the picture above there are also 3 black kids, supporting the notion that the integrity of the black family matters) whereas now there is a dominance of asian kids. In light of this, do you seriously believe we had a major evolutionary drive that reduced the IQ of Jewish kids and raised that of asian kids over the last 50 years, really?

        • E. Olson says

          PM – working class Jews have disappeared from public schools because they have gotten rich enough over the past 50 years to send their kids to private schools. And you have just convinced me that your whole life story is complete fiction, because anybody working in biomedical could not possibly believe what you have written. My guess you have a gender/black studies background at best.

        • S. Cheung says

          Allan –
          thanks for the link. I’m not accustomed to reading papers from that era, and must say something without a clear “methods” section is a bit jarring, since that is the first bit I read to determine whether there is any point in reading further. This paper seems to have methods, results, and discussion all lumped together. Maybe that’s how things were done in 1990.
          I will say that 100 twin pairs is useful info, but by itself, the generalisability may be limited. And I found some papers that contradict those conclusions from this decade, as I listed on this thread in an earlier comment today.
          The paper concludes that there is a genetic component to IQ, but the very nature of twin studies makes inter-racial comparisons impossible. BUt that is the precise thrust of some on this thread.
          The authors note on page 225 that socioeconomic status of parents has an effect on the cognitive skill acquisition rate in children.
          The authors further conclude that their results should not be extrapolated to the extremes of environmental disadvantage in society circa late 1980s.
          Finally, I couldn’t find a “r” value, but the text refers to correlation of 70%, so I assume that r=0.7, which is strong.

          I would say this paper speaks to a genetic component, but not in the way some on this thread would prefer, and also with some caveats as listed above.

          (and for the E.Olson’s of the world, in the interests of full disclosure once again): I am not a research psychologist; I did not respond to every data point and assertion in the paper; I only read the paper in a cursory manner and this should not be considered a proper critical appraisal).

          • Peter Schaeffer says

            SC, A recent paper by Flynn and five others (roughly the anti-Murray faction) estimates IQ heritability at 0.4 to 0.8. See “New Findings and Theoretical Developments”.

            Also take a look at “What Happens When We Randomly Assign Children to Families?” by Bruce Sacerdote. The Holt data (studied by Bruce Sacerdote) tends to support genetic heritability.

      • Peter Schaeffer says

        SC, Your links don’t support your arguments. They confirm IQ gaps, but question their origins. That reflects the state of the science. Try reading the Neisser report (the 1996 statement of the APA on race and IQ). Quote

        “The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) did not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socioeconomic status. Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct empirical support. There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation. At present, no one knows what causes this differential.”

        • S. Cheung says

          Peter –
          thanks for the suggestions. I definitely learned something.

          This is what I said earlier: “My position all along is that it should be a more holistic view of IQ, not simply as some inherent genetic/racial characteristic, but one whose manifestation on testing reflects all the socioeconomic backdrop that each individual brings to bear.”

          Sacerdote: It was 52 pages…so I didn’t read it all or even come close. I scanned briefly for methods. 10K families met screening criteria, 3500 families sampled, 1117 surveys returned. That’s a lot of selection bias and responder bias, not to mention the inherent confounding in what is more or less a case-control design. And it applies exclusively to the Korean-American cohort. The endpoint of college graduation itself is one that is affected by many confounding factors beyond genetics. And despite all that, the conclusion that “either initial endowments or the interaction between family environment and initial endowments must be driving a large portion of the transmission of income and education to children” is as much an endorsement of genetics as it is of social features affecting a child’s education success.

          Neisser report: i would choose a different quote with some additions in brackets….
          “African American IQ scores have long averaged about 15 points below those of Whites (elsewhere in the report, it is stated that difference since 1990 is down to single digits), with correspondingly lower scores on academic achievement tests. In recent years the achievement-test gap has narrowed appreciably. It is possible that the IQ-score differential is narrowing as well, but this has not been clearly established. The cause of that differential is not known; it is apparently not due to any simple form of bias in the content or administration of the tests themselves. The Flynn effect shows that environmental factors can produce differences of at least this magnitude, but that effect is mysterious in its own right. Several culturally-based explanations of the Black/White IQ differential have been proposed; some are plausible, but so far none has been conclusively supported. There is even less empirical support for a genetic interpretation.”…although your choice of the summary statement seems fair also.
          I would further add that “It is sometimes suggested that the Black/White differential in psychometric intelligence is partly due to genetic differences (Jensen, 1972). There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

          Flynn: Lead author is actually Nisbett. This is the most recent of your suggestions, and likely most relevant.
          “We can be confident that the environmental differences that are associated with social class have a large effect on IQ.”
          “It is almost surely the case, however, that a substantial fraction of the IQ advantage is due to the environments independent of the genes associated with them”
          “Children (both Black and mixed-race) adopted by White families had IQs 13 points higher on average than those adopted by Black families, indicating that there were marked differences in the environments of Black and White families relevant to socialization for IQ; indeed, the differences were large enough to account for virtually the entire Black–White gap in IQ at the time of the study.”
          And finally, the Dickens-Flynn model: “If the primary environmental causes (e.g., discrimination in jobs and housing) are removed, the multiplier effects should unwind; that is, the removal of small persistent environmental differences between groups could have large effects on group differences in IQ.” but “We emphasize that the Dickens–Flynn model, while good at explaining a wide range of facts about intelligence,has not been subject to very much empirical testing.”

          Those were interesting reads. Very different presentation style than the stuff in my field, but perhaps an effect of the era.
          Based on that, I would refine my position thusly: There appears to be a small and progressively diminishing difference in IQ between whites and blacks on a group level, but whatever difference exists is due to something other than genetics. More likely, environmental differences exerted by social class explain these empiric IQ differences, and the attenuation of such environmental differences may well eliminate such IQ differences entirely.

          What changes for me is to accept some small racial differences. What won’t change is the belief that socioeconomic factors account for such differences.

  4. ms100 says

    This is rich coming from the former dean of the Harvard Medical School, a school that engages in even worse discrimination against asians and whites than what de Blasio is suggesting. Either he’s been recently redpilled, or worse, was when he was dean and cowardly went along with the diversity fetish.

    • Mec B says

      @ms100
      Your suggestion that because Harvard has had history in discrimination that somehow Mr. Flier is now part and parcel of said discrimination. I suggest you take back such unthoughtful comments slandering someone because they happen to had worked at the same institution. I mean if that is how you react, then I suppose you would also find that Chelsea Clinton is in fact contributing to the deaths by the NZ gunmen.

      • markbul says

        Harvard as been discriminating on the basis of race for decades, and everyone knows it. Indeed, he has taken part in it:

        “as someone who has spent a good part of his professional life seeking to recruit diverse, top-performing talent to institutions such as Harvard Medical School …”

        Please note the word ‘diverse.’ You either recruit ‘top-performing,’ or you don’t. ‘Diversity’ as a goal conflicts with performance by definition. So no, this is not like Chelsea Clinton.

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @markbul
          I’m no fan of the Diversocrat project but it is in fact possible to do outreach to find ‘diverse’ candidates without lowering standards as you’re looking for the exceptions rather than the average; the tails of the curve rather than the bell.

          If the criteria were hair color or handed-ness instead of race or sex, one could scour American high schools for qualified redheads or left-handers and increase their ‘representation’ in your institution (their population in proportion to the whole) by diverting them from other institutions. Harvard has a great advantage in this due to the money it can spend hunting whom they want and its prestige for drawing those they find.

          It seems a good bet the author did that, finding black and hispanic etc diamonds by sifting a lot of dross. The problem is every institution can’t simultaneously do this and get the same results even if all had the resources to try – there aren’t enough such gems to go around. Family culture and local schools indeed help prepare students in unequal ways.

          The further down the university prestige/resources food chain you go, the more pronounced become the effects of the top dogs gobbling up all the exceptional candidates. State U. gets the bottom of the barrel, making their affirmative action efforts exactly the unfair, dumbed down process it is whilst Harvard et al. can pat themselves on the back for being morally superior.

  5. Steven Podvoll says

    Dr. Flier admits there’s a problem. He then suggests the solution on the table, which I point out does not eliminate aptitude testing, is a bad idea but he conveniently avoids proposing alternatives.

    Surely a “physician-educator” who has also taught at Harvard recognizes that the academic standards at schools like Harvard weren’t destroyed by taking a more holistic view of admissions criteria.

    For the record, nobody is suggesting that NYC’s SHS eliminate aptitude testing entirely. Rather, the new standards replace the SHSAT with the standard New York State proficiency tests as a baseline, then considers criteria like class ranking. This is a formula that has been used successfully at public magnet and STEM schools all around the nation, to no detriment.

    Those who admit there’s a problem, yet criticize the solution that’s currently on the table, bear the burden of proposing alternative solutions. Kvetching is not an alternative solution.

    P.S. For the record, here are the key college entrance metrics for Bronx Science – Average SAT 1410, Average ACT 32

    Here are averages for a few magnet schools around the nation, obviously none of which use the NYC SHSAT:
    Walter Payton College Prep – SAT 1390, ACT 31
    Dallas School of Science & Engineering – SAT 1360, ACT 31
    Liberal Arts & Sciences Academy of Austin – SAT 1400, ACT 32
    Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science – SAT 1470, ACT 34
    Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy – SAT 1450, ACT 33
    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology – SAT 1510, ACT 34
    BASIS Scottsdale – SAT 1470, ACT 34
    Bergen County Academies – SAT 1450, ACT 33
    High Technology High School (Lincroft, NJ) – SAT 1510, ACT 34

    Here are averages for a magnet school right in NYC that doesn’t use the SHSAT, either:
    Townsend Harris (NYC) – SAT 1380, ACT 31

    Here are averages for just regular, old, open enrollment public schools in suburban districts where I have recently lived:
    Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, IL) – SAT 1360, ACT 30
    Northville High School (Northville, MI) – SAT 1360, ACT 31

    Here are averages for a school near me which, despite being a specialty magnet school has open enrollment:
    International Academy (of Oakland County, MI) – SAT 1390, ACT 32

    It’s not about the admissions criteria. Those who are patting themselves on the back for having passed the SHSAT can give their arms a rest.

    The only folks who truly benefit from the SHSAT are in the SHSAT prep biz.

    • ga gamba says

      … he conveniently avoids proposing alternatives.

      Yes, he does do so. I suppose his defence of the current system ought to inform his reader that he generally approves of the status quo. That was my take away.

      Dr Flier’s reveal is when he writes: “Admission to these schools is determined solely on the basis of performance in a special entrance examination—so these schools have avoided the problems associated with legacy admissions, athletics-based preferences and donor pressures, all of which serve to undermine the merit principle at many elite universities.”

      Surely a “physician-educator” who has also taught at Harvard recognizes that the academic standards at schools like Harvard weren’t destroyed by taking a more holistic view of admissions criteria.

      No, not destroyed. Was that his argument? But perhaps degraded is a more appropriate way to state it. Without an exit exam this is difficult to assess though.

      Have things degraded?

      In the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 55% of students from China scored in the top two levels of proficiency on the PISA, whereas 9% of students from the US performed at the same levels. US universities select from small pool of American student achievers and a much larger pool of mediocrity and lower. In contrast, the percentage of students scoring in the lower two categories of the six proficiency categories was significantly higher in the US than other OECD members. The OECD considered level two to be the lowest standard of proficiency. Twenty six per cent of American students tested scored at level two or lower. Furthermore, the average score of American students on the PISA Mathematics exam in 2012 was 481. This was lower than the OECD average and significantly lower than South Korea, the top performing country, with an average score of 554.

      With the increase in international students, in particular ones from Korea, China, and India, attending US tertiary schools since the 1990s, perhaps this has helped keep up the appearance of standards. International students are 12.8% of Harvard’s class of 2022 undergraduates.

      Here are averages for just regular, old, open enrollment public schools in suburban districts where I have recently lived:
      Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, IL) – SAT 1360, ACT 30
      Northville High School (Northville, MI) – SAT 1360, ACT 31

      Here are averages for a school near me which, despite being a specialty magnet school has open enrollment:
      International Academy (of Oakland County, MI) – SAT 1390, ACT 32

      What’s it like on the ground in Lincolnshire, IL and Northville, MI?

      Northville, which is situated in two counties, Oakland and Wayne, is a very small town of fewer than 6000 people, one of whom is the CEO of GM. Census data of 2010 shows the racial makeup of the town was 93.7% white, 1.6% black, 0.1% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population. The median household income of postal code 48167, one of Northville’s two, is $90,818. The other post code 48168 reveals a median household income of $107,500. The former is in the 87th percentile of wealth for the nation, and the latter is in the 96th percentile. Northville’s nickname is the Switzerland of Wayne County.

      Lincolnshire is larger – 7,275 residents. The racial makeup of the village was 91.5% white, 0.9% black, 0.01% Native American, 6.1% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2% of the population. The village is 95th percentile for wealth. The demographics of the high school are white: 63.4%, Asian: 24.7%, Hispanic: 7.6%, black: 1.5%, two or more races: 2.6%, American Indian: 0.2%. The high school serves neighbouring towns, almost all of which are also in the mid-90th percentile for wealth; the wrong-side-of-the-tracks town is Mundelein, which is only in the 84th percentile. The real tragedy I found is that only 3.7% of Stevenson’s teachers are Asian, so the 24.7% of the student body who are Asian have no role models, they feel despair, and they can’t achieve. It’s the rice paddies or prison for them, I guess.

      It appears that Northville and Lincolnshire are magnet communities, attractive to the wealthy and well-educated of Detroit and Chicago, respectively, and perhaps lower-income parents who want the best schools for their children, such as immigrants. By living in very affluent communities the students were in a sense pre-screened. However, neither school is as selective as Chicago’s very, very selective Payton, which means both Stevenson and Northville have to deal with not only the great, but also the good, the mediocre, and the dim. Nonetheless, their scores are comparable to an elite magnet school. This is like a good state uni being comparable to Harvard.

      Imagine the average scores of the elite magnet school if it were genuinely elite.

      The only folks who truly benefit from the SHSAT are in the SHSAT prep biz.

      Perhaps. Yet, Chicago’s eleven selective high schools, which includes Payton, have a special entrance exam too – one not called NYC SHSAT – for 8th graders that is purportedly coachable, for example at https://www.academicapproach.com/one-on-one-tutoring/tests/high-school-admissions-testing/selective-enrollment-exam/ . Is this not a prep biz also?

      It’s not about the admissions criteria.

      Really? Why not have a lucky draw then?

      What was the intent of these magnet schools? Wasn’t it so the brightest could be brought together to learn and thrive at a faster pace than their less bright cohort? Or was it to be as good as a good suburban high school?

      A reminder.

      Walter Payton College Prep – SAT 1390, ACT 31
      Dallas School of Science & Engineering – SAT 1360, ACT 31
      yada yada

      Here’s how Chicago selects students:

      Seventh grade standardized test (NWEA-MAP): 300 points
      Seventh grade final grades: 300 points
      Entrance exam: 300 points

      Looks fair, though the NWEA-MAP states its mission is to foster equity, so what they do to the test to fabricate that equity outcome is worth scrutiny.

      Is that it? No.

      Thirty per cent admitted are done so strictly by merit. And the other seventy per cent’s admittance is determined using a tier system based on the socioeconomic status of zip codes in the city. Students will be assigned one of four tiers based on their home addresses. A certain number of spots at each school are assigned based purely on points ranking, while the majority of seats at each school are equally divided among the four tiers.

      This works out to 17.5% per tier.

      Here’s the howler. “In order to sit for the Selective Enrollment Exam, students must earn at least a percentile rank of 24 in both reading and mathematics on their seventh grade NWEA-MAP test.”

      24th percentile?! Why not simply a pulse? Aim high, Chicago.

      The outcome?

      Use of the tier system has led to significant gaps in the academic achievement required for admissions between students from different parts of Chicago. There is a particularly large gap between admissions scores of Tier 4 (the highest socioeconomic tier) and Tier 1 (the lowest socioeconomic tier). At Payton, Tier 4 students had cut-off admission scores of 890 (of 900!) whereas Tier 1 students had cut off scores of 769.

      That’s the equity movement for you. One hundred twenty-one points.

      Walter Payton accepts only 2.5 per cent of applicants. It’s more selective than Harvard (4.59 per cent of applicants admitted), but its average SAT and ACT scores are much lower that Harvard’s average of 1515 and 34 (both composites).

      Because it stacks the deck in favour of some.

      Here’s the peculiar thing. Given Payton is able to pick from the best, and lavishes many perks on them such as small teacher-to-student ratio, safe corridors, toilets with bog roll, “in 2016, 98% of Payton juniors were considered College Ready in English, 94% were considered College Ready in Reading, 97% were considered College Ready in Math and 91% were considered College Ready in Science.”

      How is it that the elite and ultra selective Payton still has students who aren’t College Ready? “College Ready” may sound highfalutin, but really it’s minimum standards. One has proficiency. Which is measured how? Digging it to it, if one scores an 18 on the ACT’s English section (50% percentile), s/he is deemed proficient.

      It seems to me these special schools’ remit is to exceed basics and do so greatly. Should it be trumpeting the high per cent of students who achieved that low baseline, or should it be reporting the per cent of students who are above their grade level (again a low measure) in these skills?

      Perhaps the unwoke will eventually wake up and relocate to Lincolnshire and Northville (like you) which will deprive the major cities of tax revenue to fund the cockamamie schemes of redistribution and contortion.

    • Peter Schaeffer says

      SP, I did a bit or research on the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology. Quote

      “The ethnic demographics of the students in the class of 2018-2019 is about 21.8% white, 74% Asian, 1.7% black, and 2.6% Hispanic. Hispanic and Black students make up less than four percent of student body, while the same groups constitute about thirty percent of the student population in the area.”

      In other words, roughly the same as the selective NYC schools. TJHSST does use an admissions test. Quote

      “The admissions test contains three components for math, reading and science. The math (Quant Q) will have 28 questions with 50 minutes to complete. The reading and science will be tested using the ACT Aspire. The Aspire Reading test has 32 questions with 65 minutes to complete and the Aspire Science test has 40 questions with 60 minutes to complete.”

      Does TJHSST use the same test as the selective NYC schools. No. Does it use a comparable test? Obviously.

  6. FlashinthePan says

    The New York Times piece to which this article is responding featured mixed race kids, mostly, who’d gotten into these schools. If not mixed race, they were from Africa. Kids with parents who encouraged academic success. Rather than express gratitude, these kids look around and wonder why there aren’t more black kids there. I read a similar hue and cry regarding my alma mater — black woman gets into the program and bemoans the fact that there aren’t more black people there, rather than expressing gratitude that she got in.

    Even though I’m white, there weren’t more of me there either.

    Of my high school class, most of whom were white, only a very small percentage went to upper tier colleges. Most would graduate high school into vocational or factory work (when it was still available).

    Inherent in de Blasio’s idea, if it comes to fruition, is to allow black students into schools where they don’t belong, based on their skin color. But would the same favor be extended to white kids who work hard but don’t get a high enough score on the test? If not, then his plan is racist. It’s going to take seats away from those who can pass the test and give them to those who can’t, simply because of the color of their skin, in part (as a response to the Times article) so that the high achieving black kids won’t feel uncomfortable being the only ones there.

    As one who is the only white person in the room at my job, I say: GET OVER IT.

    Perhaps, in regard to the situation at NYC schools, we need to factor in the real truth, which I witnessed growing up in a white place. School is not for everyone. Why assume it is? My grandfather, who grew up very poor. was sent to a military school that taught him a vocation that served him very well. Yet we go on and on, wringing our hands, that blacks don’t gain access to this, that, or the other opportunity that frankly, doesn’t interest them. Many years ago, at a community college (where a black student threatened to knife me for giving him a ‘C’ (which made me “racist”) I asked the class what they were in college for. They answered: To get a job. Most of these students would have been much better off with job training. Period.

    • Steve Gambone says

      The job training track is where the Hispanics are headed and why their SHSAT attendance rate is so ridiculously low. 14.8 per thousand in 2019 compared to a rate of 19.1 for Blacks and 47.7 for Asians.

      It’s the Multi-racials who’ve won the most offers in relation to their population size, They did that four times out of the last five years. So Multi-racials are the most ‘overrepresented’ in terms of offers. And they’re also part of the group with the highest SHSAT attendance rate of 73.9 per thousand. That ‘Others’ category includes the race unknown kids, the Multi-racials and the First People students, those improperly called ‘native american”.

  7. Richard Lipsky says

    As a classmate of Dr.Flier who went on the get a PhD in political science I share his observation about the importance of preserving merit. I did, however, also spend 5 years teaching elementary school in NYC so I got to see firsthand the kind of personal and family issues that obstruct learning. One of me fifth grade classes does stand out-mostly made up of Spanish-speaking Dominican immigrants who came in reading at below a third grade level. Miraculously, after one year of exposure to English many of the students ended the year reading at above a tenth grade level-something that cannot be attributed to the brilliance of their teacher in the classroom.

    There are many psycho-social and environmental factors at play but the real challenge-and danger-is the prevailing concept of disparate impact that views the unequal results as an indictment of the system and evidence of pervasive racism. With this conceptual crutch, our mayor can and will do tremendous damage because a reliance on that bogus theory inevitably elides the root causes of the problem-with the disastrous end result devolving from our forced membership in what Saul Bellow called, The Good Intentions Paving Company.

    Merit is under assault, and if we don’t defend it, the entire foundation of all the good we have managed to achieve-including overcoming some really nasty legacies-will become barely remembered remnants.

  8. SamlAdams says

    Used to have drive down in the neighborhood where BHSS is located on a regular basis. What’s interesting is that just a few blocks away is one of the regular public high schools. Drive by there at dismissal time and the contrast is stark. At BHSS, you will see an orderly campus, some kids walking to the bus or train nearby, but the impression is most stay after school for extra help or to work on projects. Go up the street and you’ll see three to four NYPD school security vans unloading and forming a phalanx around the school. The sole purpose appeared to be to get the students far enough away from the school property before fights broke out that any criminal consequences would not be the school’s problem.

  9. Steve Ganbone says

    Actually Doc the symptoms aren’t real or alarming. It’s all easy to explain and predictable. Mathematical incompetence is the widespread problem and you’re lacking a competent math-team diagnostician. You should have mentioned that terms like ‘underrepresented’ are bogus, unscientific gibberish. The proper term is disproportionate.

    Find yourself some Harvard Game Theorist or Euclidean type mathematician to get you up to speed on what’s really going on ‘cuz you haven’t gotta clue, Doc.

    Have them run the net worth numbers for the Hispanic community. The Hispanic community’s avoidance of the specialized school college route is their wisest course of action. Why should they follow the lead of all the stupid white parents who have underemployed graduates saddled with inescapable student loan debt?

    It’s not required but have your math-team advisors check out the Mathematical Model used by Adolph Hitler and compare that model to the one that math-challenged Mayor is using. You might just get a shock that starts your problem solving neurons firing again.

  10. Jim Gorman says

    Here is my problem with the article. The author says, “There are urgent questions to be asked about the exclusion of other groups.

    Exclude is a verb. It means to actively bar access to someone. I don’t see where taking the highest performing students on an entrance exam is actively excluding anyone. As long as the test objectively predicts academic proclivity, then the scores should be all that matters. Actively excluding one because you have a quota that is not based on scores can surely be considered “excluding”.

    Do we have quotas for athletic teams? Do we make sure short, slow, weak, and those that don’t attend practice are included as starters? Do team’s starter population depend on the racial mix of the student body? Athletic starters are generally based on merit. That is, run fastest, jump highest, are the strongest, etc. Why would academics be any different.

    One can argue that the entrance exams don’t reliably predict academic performance and I would believe that. My granddaughter just couldn’t get an outstanding score on ACT tests even after taking it several times. Yet she is an outstanding student with numerous academic scholarships. Does she intuitively pick up concepts? No. But she works her butt off to learn and religiously does her homework, never misses a due date, and is upset when she has to miss class. Some process in addition to test scores to identify these students should be desired.

    • E. Olson says

      Jim – obviously you don’t know the theory of evolution, because it is well known that the physical characteristics of different ethnic/racial groups adapted to the geography and climate of their home area over many hundreds of generations. Thus people living in cold areas adapted physical characteristics making them more compatible with surviving in cold weather, while people living in areas with fast and dangerous wild animals evolved to be fast and strong, etc. Fortunately these adaptive changes in response to environmental conditions were limited entirely to physical characteristics, and thus every race and ethnic group around the world does not differ in brain functioning or intelligence. Therefore, it makes no sense to blame racism for the fact that 80% of NBA and NFL teams are black, but racism has to be the reason why elite academic institutions are mostly Asian, Jewish, and white just as Darwin predicted.

      • Steve Gambone says

        The Darwinian theory involved has nothing to do with race. It’s in the mathematics of the starting odds of survival within the differing sizes of subsets of the population. Combine the Blacks at 26% and the Hispanics at 40.5% pursuing a limited resource of only five thousand offers total and the intracommunity odds at the outset ballpark in at about 13 to 1.

        That means 12 are doomed with only 1 survivor. For Asians it’s still pretty bad but 4 times higher. Out of 13 pursuits 9 doomed with 4 survivors. There just aren’t enough specialized school seats available to make that future a viable option for Blacks or Hispanics. They have better odds elsewhere. However Asians are pretty much stuck with the specialized school future. With quotas and other stupidity the specialized schools are the only game in town.

      • Daz says

        …and that is why the majority of professional soccer players in the all the major soccer leagues around the world are from poor socioeconomic backgrounds, because working class people have evolved to be athletic and skillful (thankfully there were bears and wolves in the northern hemisphere so that even white people got to run away a lot).

        Whilst middle to upper class people have evolved to be more academic. The odd rules to the exception must be genetic anomalies.

        And all the Asian peasants in Asia who have had little to no education have a wealth of untapped IQness.

        I can’t hold with your theories, I’m sorry but there are too many holes the argument. We are all guilty of cherry picking facts.

  11. E.Patrick Mosman says

    Those calling for elimination of an entrance exam have missed or ignored the fact that in New York city and probably in others the majority of the overachieving Asian students are graduates of the same public schools that are said to “fail” the black and Latino students . Actually it points to the undisputed fact that the student’s “family ” is a major factor on a student’s educational performance in even the worst of schools. Parent’s support and insistence on attendance, behavior and homework are key to learning. That effort is sorely lacking in many minority households. No doubt “dumbing down” the entrance requirement would lead to ‘dumbing down’ the curriculum.

    • Steve Gambone says

      At this point the biggest undeniable fact is that top notch Blacks and top notch Hispanics never apply to the schools or sit for the test. So we aren’t witnessing All-Star Asians versus All-Star Blacks at the SHSAT. Both the Black and Hispanic communities are sending in their minor leagues, not their Major league competitors.It’s not hard to prove that hypothesis.

      The main dumbing down is in the mathematical incompetence of both experts and the common folk in this thing. I still haven’t run into any expert in all the articles, stories or in the comments who can even come close to my level of mathematical knowledge and real world problem solving abilities. And that ain’t bragging on my part it’s a lament. The rise of the Statistical Empire has really dumbed people down. The Euclidean age all but gone.

      The most Jedi-like, problem-solving folks whoever lived on the planet are the Euclideans. Our powers and abilities date back millennia. And given that, at best, I’m like the three stooges version of Yoda this country has some serious issues with problem-solving if folks can’t even figure out this simple SHSAT stuff.

  12. SML says

    As a product of the NYC school system, I can vouch the fact that NOT everybody is suited for Bronx Science or Stuyvesant high schools. I wasn’t. Yet the NYC school system has diverse opportunities beyond these schools. Remember the TV show Fame ? That setting was a specialized NYC high school. There are other schools that prepare students for careers. I attended Edison Vo Tech. An education that has served me well by enhancing my strengths.

    Two final points. Lowering standards or setting racial quotas does the students a disservice. Lowering standards deprives the brightest. Racial quotas harm the beneficiaries by setting them up for failure. Just like the good batter against a major league pitcher. Or a deprecation of their achievement. “They were a Diversity student” Second, The contribution of culture to achievement is ignored by using the Trojan Horse of race. While race is immutable, culture is not. American Black culture holds back many from achievement beyond a few fields. School achievement is considered bad. “Oreo” is a common imprecation toward academic achievement.

  13. F. E. says

    Ah, the Quillette comment-section rearing its ugly racist head. Stop overstating 1. The difference in average iq (which doesn’t even really matter here, as these schools are supposed to recruit the upper end of the Bell-Curve) 2. The strength of the science regarding genetic heritability and iq 3. The correlation of IQ and academic achievement.

    • S. Cheung says

      F.E. – no kidding. Just a rudimentary google search netted me a bunch of scholarly articles that directly contradict the prevailing notions on IQ espoused on this board…but the comments section on Quillette would constitute a sampling error if there ever was one.
      On the other hand, this topic is a politicized hot potato, and it would be easy to become nihilistic about the “truth”, simply because you can probably find published research supporting any angle you want. And most people (including me) would not be equipped to vet the inherent biases in the methods section of any particular paper.
      I’m not sure what the solution is moving forward. But for the true believers, stuff like this takes on a religious quality. And we all know how well religiousy folk take to examination or contrarian ideas.

      • Stoic Realist says

        @S. Cheung

        The thing to keep in mind is that given the politicization of the issue of intelligence and the difficulty of identifying objective evaluations of sufficient quality to be persuasive the denial stance that F.E. is clearly taking and that you seem to be taking is also ‘religious thinking’. It is an assertion of facts based more on ‘I want it to be this way’ than on evidence.

        Is there some evidence of a difference in average IQ? The definitely seems to be. Are there people challenging it? There certainly are. Are both sides free of bad actors? Undoubtedly not. Within this landscape are wet likely to find the truth? It is unlikely. So within this context what actually qualifies as contrarian thought? Is that contrarian thought of any value simply because it is contrarian?

        Solving problems requires an honest evaluation of what they are and an honest discussion of what can and should be done about them. The Quillette forums may not be perfect on this front but they seem to be making a more honest effort than anywhere else I can find. I will take honest argument over derogatory assertion any time. (Such as your prejudiced, in joke about ‘religiousy folks’.)

        • S. Cheung says

          Stoic-
          I can’t speak for F.E. I am not convinced by the assertions of race-based superiority in IQ, at least to the exclusion of other factors. Part of this is due to the inherent limitation in all social sciences, in that at best, they can demonstrate correlation. BUt there is really no way in these realms to do the type of study where you can reject the null, and prove causality. For this reason, I invoke equipoise not because I prefer one version to another, but because one version has not been proven to be more persuasive than the other, in my way of thinking.

          By extension, i’m also a skeptic. So when folks assert “settled science” in a realm where it’s scientifically not possible, my response is “oh really…”, and then I proceed to mock it.

          As for religion, if you can provide something that allows for rejection of the null, I’m all ears. Or something that can sustain examination by Hitchen’s Razor would also suffice. But I’m not pre-judging; just judging.

        • Public schools are run by the government and influenced by politicians. They cannot solve the problem of underachievement because they have misidentified the cause to get votes. If your goal is diversity based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc, then you can game the system to achieve that outcome. We can just move people around in a manner that is in proportion with census statistics and then claim that we have made progress. If your goal is education, then the remedy is vastly different. What it all boils down to is the fallacy of questionable cause. Some people point to racism as THE cause of the disparities we see, so their solutions are narrow and fail to address the multitude of factors involved in student achievement. This idea that everyone is the same and if it weren’t for racism everyone can go to Harvard is total nonsense. I thank God every day that there are people much more intelligent than I am. I rely on our education system so that if I need brain surgery – the doctor performing that surgery will have the competence to pull me through. I have never heard a person say that they want an Asian doctor if they are in the middle of a health crisis – they want the BEST doctor regardless of race or ethnicity. Hierarchies of competence is what keeps society functioning. Treating everyone as individuals gets us there. The purpose of schools should be education, not social engineering.

  14. Steve Gambone says

    In the event the good Doctor actually reads the comments, here’s something he can give his math advisors to check out. It reveals the Deflate-Gate scam the Mayor and DOE are using to cook the books.

    Assume there’s a sports league where the teams with the most losses get compensated for a season of many losses with first round draft picks for new, up and coming talent. That draft reward based on a simple calculation; the ratio of wins to losses. Also assume that at the start of each new season each team is credited with one win and one loss. So each team starts a season with a 1.00 W/L ratio.

    Now let’s say the two teams of biggest losers convince their League Commissioner that they alone are entitled to an off-the-books inclusion of additional losses that’s to be used in the calculation of their W/L ratios. By adding more losses, in an off the record way, their W/L ratios drop or deflate. Making those two teams appear more worthy of a biggest loser, draft pick compensation package. Being a math-challenged fool, the Commissioner goes along with the scam. He then credits the biggest loser in that dynamic losing duo with a higher number of losses than he credits the second biggest loser.

    That is the same Deflate-Gate scam the DOE is successfully pulling off with its reporting of the “Distribution of Offers, by Ethnicity”. The method of calculation used by the DOE automatically includes, in a behind the scenes way, all the Latinos and Blacks who do NOT take the SHSAT.

    In 2019 the DOE numbers of 6.6% for Latinos and 4.0% for Blacks are part of a continuing Deflate-Gate scam. Those numbers are artificially lowered by the inclusion of Latino and Black no-shows at the SHSAT. That inappropriate calculation makes Latinos and Blacks look more worthy of a compensation package than they actually are. And while the Latino and Black numbers are artificially deflated, the Asian number of 51.1% is artificially inflated to make the Asians look less worthy of the seats they won fair and square.

  15. dorsal famirins says

    Excellent work and contribution to the discussion, Dr. Flier. I am truly amazed at the attention the admissions policy of a handful of high schools in NYC is getting–especially from an Australia-based blog! A couple of further observations in response to some of your points:

    “Back then, there was no such thing as “test prep”: You simply showed up, took the test, and went home. Several months thereafter, some of us were informed we’d been accepted to “Science,” as the school was known colloquially.”

    That’s because it wasn’t the end of the world if you didn’t get in. Back then the neighborhood high schools in NYC were quite satisfactory, and many of their grads also went on to college and prestigious careers.

    “A far better solution would be to improve the neighborhood schools that could be feeding diverse, high-performing cohorts of teenagers to elite high schools.”

    Yes, of course, to return to the situation ex ante of the 50s and 60s, but not limited to the feeder schools, but also the high school alternatives to Science and Stuyvesant.

    Like you, I went to Bronx Science (Class of ’67) and CCNY, and then on to an MA from a respected Big 10 school. While my class had numerous distinguished grads, including novelists Richard Price and April Smith, and Chief Judge of the US Bankruptcy Court, SDNY Stuart Bernstein, we also had our share of controversy. My class also included:

    Eve Rosahn, whose car was used as getaway vehicle in the 1982 Brinks holdup in Nanuet, NY in which two security guards were murdered.

    Kathleen Chang, a spectacularly beautiful girl who could not escape her private demons and immolated herself on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in 1996.

    Bill Lann Lee, whose nomination for associate attorney general for civil rights by President Bill Clinton was rejected by the Senate and had to fill in as a recess appointment.

    Jonathan Katz, physics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, whose appointment by President Obama to the scientific advisory board to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was torpedoed because he had made some politically incorrect remarks about gays on his blog. Once again, science subordinate to politics.

  16. asdf says

    It’s bad enough that lots of new programs to help smart people don’t get started because they aren’t “diverse enough”. But to go after an existing institution that is working well is particularly egregious. All they need to do is just leave it alone. The status quo is suppose to be easy for government.

  17. Ned Flanders says

    “Problems at school can be compounded by family and social factors, including racism, which serve to deny many black and Hispanic students the fruits of their high potential.”

    The author possesses impressive academic credentials and seems to be quite smart? Why then does he drop this bomb right in the middle of the article without providing any evidence? It’s amazing how often highly intelligent people are blind to the inconsistencies in their own reasoning.

  18. TheSnark says

    The problem of Black under-representation at elite New York public schools is primarily cultural, not genetic. Jews and most Asians have a long tradition of scholarship being rewarded, and their parents push their kids to study hard in school. Black, Hispanic, and many white cultures do not have this, and their kids don’t do well in school.

    The American Blacks have it especially bad. Their own leadership groups, encouraged by the the do-gooder whites, tell blacks that their problems are somebody else’s fault and that they don’t need to do anything about them, somebody else will solve them with handouts, affirmative action, and special preferences. And they shouldn’t bother even trying, because the “inherent racism” in the system will prevent them from succeeding. Far too many of them listen to this crap, and sit back and wait for somebody else to fix things.

    The result is what you see today, these things don’t get fixed.

    And please don’t give me any pseudo-Darwinian garbage about IQ or genetics. If you look back at the “scientific studies” done in the 1930’s, you will find scientific proof that Jews were not particularly gifted academically, but were great at sports. And back then the NBA was heavily Jewish, which of course proved the point.

  19. If students are admitted to these schools on merit, then the problem is not racial discrimination. The problem is that the politicians and SJWs hate what they describe as “elite” anything. I taught the gifted and talented program at a public school for 9 years ending in 2015. I had a whopping $200 per year for my entire budget – one that I supplemented myself out of pocket. There were rumblings that the school’s administration frowned on G & T and saw it as “elite” and therefore bad in some way. By the end of my time there, G & T was reduced to being solely business-based in terms of curriculum, and the focus I was ordered to have was on operating the school store selling overpriced items to students during lunch. Educators today are all about social justice and education is secondary. They don’t understand that we are losing the brightest to boredom and drugs in the public schools. Research has shown as much. I left teaching. It was not what I thought it would be. Critical thinkers be they teachers or students are not supported in the current system.

  20. Eero says

    Typical de Blasio/Carranza distraction. All the other schools that 99% of NYC public school students will attend are mediocre or failing, but it’s much easier to tear down the few schools that are great than to fix the many schools that are doing poorly. If de Blaz succeeds with his plan of replacing SHSAT with just admitting the top 7% from every NYC public school (Catholic/private school students not welcome to even apply), the specialized high schools will no longer be special in anything but name only. The advanced courses currently offerred assuming strong math & verbal skills will have to be scrapped in favor of remedial learning classes for their new affirmative action students didn’t learn by 8th grade in de Blasio/Carranza’s failing primary schools.

    The specialized high school demographics outcomes are the result of factors both cultural and genetic, it’s not either/or as some here propose. Like SAT and other standardized tests, SHSAT is basically an IQ test. You can try to prep or study for it, but ultimately your score is going to fall someone in the range of what your IQ would predict. It’s insane that people still try to argue that average group IQ plays no role whatsoever in these school demographics. Across many many decades using the SHSAT to determine admission, these schools have had student bodies disproportionately over-represented by Ashkenazi Jews & then by Asians, followed by whites, while blacks have persistently hovered around the low single-digits % of admitted students. There’s no way it’s just a coincidence these are two groups with highest average IQs.

    Someone mentioned that these schools recruit from the high-IQ end of the the bell curve, yes. And at the highest levels levels of human intelligence there are simply fewer brown & even fewer black students. As you get up to 110, 120, 130 IQ the frequency of blacks with that level of intelligence is simply extremely rare, while the frequency of such high IQs among Asians & Whites makes up a small but relatively substantial minority of all Asians & Whites. Just like if you had a distribution of men & women by height-once you get to 6ft/183cm the number of women plummets, there are many men but few women at 185cm, virtually no women as tall as the tallest men over 190cm. There are simply aren’t that many Thomas Sowell exceptions out there (also fallaciously cited in earlier comments) in the African-American population. The schools would have to adjust to students with lower IQs in order to please the “diversity” commissars.

  21. F. E. says

    @Eero
    Please provide a source for the claim that differences in representation are no bigger than the differences in IQ distribution. And if you cant: keep your pseudoscience to yourself.

    • Eero says

      ‘Tis science, not “pseudoscience”. I never said “differences in representation are no bigger than the differences in IQ distribution.” I said culture plays a role too; both nature and nurture are at play here. But as pointed out in others’ earlier comments, this article does not even mention IQ as a factor.

      I can’t post images of graphs and data in these comments, you’ll have to use Google yourself to take a look at any normal distribution of IQ frequency by race. Such IQ statistics are quite consistent and firmly grounded. Mother Nature isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. Black mean IQ is in the 80s, and frequency begins plummeting over 100 IQ where the mean for Whites can be found, then Asians several points ahead of Whites.

      Once you get to 110 IQ a huge gap emerges in frequency between Blacks versus Asians/Whites.

      Only ~4% of blacks reach 110 IQ versus ~30% of Whites and ~40% of Asians.

      Only ~1% of blacks reach 120 IQ versus ~10% of Whites and ~20% of Asians.

      Less than 1% of blacks reach 125 IQ, versus 5% of Whites and 10% of Asians.

      Above 130 IQ are virtually zero blacks (as rare as women with height over 200cm/6’7″+) while ~5% of all Whites and Asians have 130+ IQ.

      These group IQ data are reflected in SHSAT scores and specialized high school admissions offers across many decades. And for all those decades the same pattern has been found with SAT or ACT scores for college admissions, LSAT for law school admissions, and any other standardized testing that primarily measures IQ.

      Blacks make up about 4% of all specialized high school students versus 62% Asians and 24% Non-Hispanic Whites.

      At New York’s top specialized public high school Stuyvesant, the enrollment disparity is even greater: about 74% Asian, 20% Non-Hispanic White, 1% Black.

      These numbers are pretty much as expected based on intellectual abilities and population size, along with cultural factors. SHS are intended for the city’s intellectual elite, regardless of their racial makeup. With admissions based solely on merit, ’tis the special students who make the specialized high schools special, not the buildings nor the names of the schools nor how much money they have to spend.

      Besides % frequency, there are differences in raw total population size. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 45% of NYC’s population, versus 25% Blacks and 12% Asians. There are about 2 million more Whites in NYC than Blacks. A significantly higher percentage of a significantly larger total population translates into many more White individuals with triple-digit IQs than Black individuals among the NYC population (and the USA population as a whole).

      But many Whites in NYC opt out of the public school system* to attend Catholic/private schools, so NH-Whites are way underrepresented making up only 15% of all NYC public school students, while Asians are a tad over-represented making up 16% of NYC public school students. This helps to explain the disparity between White and Asian specialized public high school enrollment which is much wider than total population size and IQ frequency would predict.

      NYC already pays to provide free SHSAT test prep and tutoring programmes for low-income Black and Hispanic students, eagerly encouraging them to apply to the SHSAT schools. Still, few are driven enough to even just sit for the test. Family background and culture obviously play some role there. But for those who have the motivation, free test prep tutoring is available; likewise taking the SHSAT itself is free of charge. It requires just a bare minimum of motivation and interest in one’s own education to apply to the SHSAT schools.

      Most SHS students are in fact economically disadvantaged, coming from poor Asian immigrant backgrounds. Many such Asians speak English as a second language, yet outperform native-born African-Americans on the SHSAT, when one-half of the entire examination is English Language Arts.

      Equality of opportunity is there. It’s been there. Having exhausted every other option trying to socially engineer equality of outcome, now De Blasio/Carranza and their supporters have implicitly concluded there is simply no way that Black and Hispanic students will ever be able to compete with Asian and White students using a purely meritocratic admissions process based on the racially/culturally-blind SHSAT exam.

      If de Blaz gets his way, Asians must be denied seats at top schools solely because they are Asian in order to make room for artificially-engineered “diversity”. That’s not fair, and will result in massive wasted potential: our most gifted students forced into lousy schools where they won’t be challenged, while effectively destroying the “specialized” high schools, forced into remedial tutoring of students who cannot succeed or even keep up with the current advanced SHS curriculum.

      *[I took the SHSAT on a whim, with no preparation whatsoever; I just wanted to keep open as many options as possible. As a Catholic schoolboy switching to a public high school was only ever a backup plan option. I applied to and was admitted to Stuyvesant HS, Brooklyn Tech HS, Staten Island Tech HS, based on my SHSAT results. The SHSAT is just a test of basic intellectual abilities in mathematics and verbal skills.

      Fortunately I also aced the TACHS/COOP standardized test for admission to NYC Catholic high schools, receiving admission and full scholarship $$$ to attend my top HS choice based on my performance on that exam.

      Under De Blasio/Carranza’s new proposed scheme, I would not have even been allowed to apply to attend the specialized public high schools because I had attended a Catholic parochial elementary school.

      (With Catholic schools compared to NYC public schools having far less in terms of financial resources, facilities, technology, etc., and non-union lower-paid teachers who lack the advanced degrees and state education certification that higher-paid unionized public school teachers must possess. Again: ‘Tis the students who make a school what it is!)

      If a NYC Catholic elementary school student did not continue on to a Catholic/private high school, his only option upon 8th grade graduation would be to attend a regular public high school, no matter how brilliant his intellectual abilities, strong work ethic, and drive to succeed.

      Meanwhile the no-longer-special “specialized public high schools” would be automatically taking in every mediocre unmotivated student who happened to be in the top 7% from every grade-inflated failing public intermediate school across NYC, creating strong perverse incentives to take the easiest classes possible at the easiest schools possible…]

      • E. Olson says

        Great comment Eero. I might add that blacks coming from families making over $70K have lower SAT scores than whites coming from families earning less then $10K.

      • S. Cheung says

        Eero,
        thanks for that.
        I obviously agree that equality of outcome is misguided. So any deviation from the current system whereby merit is supplanted by a quota system is not justifiable in my mind.

        Equality of opportunity can be considered to be there insofar as anyone can freely pursue taking the test, and anyone can freely pursue exam prep. Based on your data, however, some groups are inherently disadvantaged for success on testing. So some members of some groups are inherently less likely to perform adequately on testing, even as they are availed to equal access to testing itself.

        So i would submit that the goal is to try to minimize the inherent baseline differences, such that on a group level, the opportunity of access being equal is matched by the opportunity for success being equal. At that point, outcome is truly reflective of individual effort and achievement. And any resultant outcome differences would not trigger a knee-jerk for a socially engineered solution.

  22. Paul Falzer says

    “Switching to an admissions system based on geographical, racial or other criteria that is even partially dissociated from achievement would lead to a possibly racially stratified intra-school performance hierarchy, which in turn would unnecessarily damage the self-esteem of many of those admitted.”

    This is tortured logic – hypothesis contrary to fact, post hoc ergo propter hoc, and does not follow wrapped into a single statement. Logical leaps are easy enough to detect. What concerns me more is that the interesting personal vignette seems to distract the reader from lack of support for his claim.

  23. Nothing of value is ever achieved by lowering standards. Apart from the Gifted and Talented program, I taught students with disabilities. Children in both groups benefited from maintaining high standards. The materials that I used that were developed for the Gifted Program, I often used for students with learning issues. It just so happens that richer learning experiences positively influenced the outcomes in both groups. If we spent more time on developing sound habits of mind and tapping into the natural curiosity of children, more would reach their individual potential. There will always be differences between children based on innate intelligence, environment, culture, and disabilities. The schools cannot level the field to create equality of outcome – it is impossible. Educators cannot control everything in a student’s life, but they can be true to what education is all about – personal growth and achievement. The reality is that life is unfair. There are factors beyond the control of the schools. We can address some of those in the classroom, but certainly not by gaming the system to give some people superficial satisfaction when they organize children by race, gender, or ethnicity, and then congratulate themselves on achieving diversity. I thought we were supposed to be achieving education. I have some suggestions on what we can do to foster greater achievement. 1. Reexamine teacher certification. Emphasis should be put on content knowledge rather than theory. I encountered too many teachers who had not mastered content. 2. Put more emphasis on psychology in terms of knowing how the brain acquires knowledge and motivation in teacher education programs. 3. Treat teachers like professionals. Teachers are not given the autonomy they need to meet the needs of their individual students. Allow teachers more control over texts and other materials they feel will help students achieve, and allow them to grade based on actual achievement – not some arbitrary system designed to make everyone feel good. Kids are smarter than that! Children get more satisfaction when they know they actually achieved something rather than being coddled. 4. Remove disruptive students from the regular classroom and place them in programs where negative behaviors can be addressed without interfering with the education of others.

    • Chad Chen says

      Here is my problem with elite schools.

      We have sll these black taxpayers in New York (and Chicago and Philadelphia and Boston etc.) supporting schools from which their children are excluded so that Asians snd Jews can get ahead. Why?

      If schools are going to be exclusively Asian and Jewish, for whatever reason, they should be entirely fee based.

      • E. Olson says

        Chad Chen – blacks and Hispanics in the big cities are not net taxpayers, they are net welfare takers. They don’t pay for little or none of the public services they get, so they certainly aren’t paying for elite schools they aren’t smart enough to get in. The top 1% pay for about 50% of NYC’s budget, and they are overwhelmingly white, Jewish, and Asian. I’ve seen credible analysis that suggests the disappearance of blacks from the US would cause current federal budget deficits to disappear immediately.

        • Chad Chen says

          Do some research on the size of the black population in NYC, and the different taxes that fund the three main levels of government in New York state.

          The argument that (a) only income taxes fund government services, and that (b) blacks pay no (net) income taxes is empirically false.

          The federal government has not allowed researchers to analyze (confidential) tax collections by race , so your “credible studies” do not exist.

    • S. Cheung says

      Karen,
      I agree. The school can only do so much. But to apply what you say, ie ensuring teacher competence, altering teaching methods to support critical thinking rather than simply rote learning, and doing whatever is necessary to promote school attendance and reduce absenteeism, closely mirrors some of the factors that can improve student academic performance on a group level, based on some of the stuff I read recently.

      As a teacher, do you think having a few elite schools is the way to go; or having elite programs in a wider cross section of schools in a jurisdiction? I went to public school, and there are no elite public schools in our city but my school had a program where everyone in the program (about 5 % of my grade) took AP level for every course for grade 11 and 12. Our teachers taught the AP-style cohort, but also all the other students as well.

  24. Joseph Ducreux says

    A huge benefit for these schools is the elimination of disruptive students who cannot be expelled because education is a “right”. The children who want to learn are able to learn.

  25. Anonymous says

    It was amusing to see the writer straining painfully to try to be as politically correct as possible while still upholding the principle of fair, race-blind, merit-based admissions tests.

    I give the guy credit – Harvard is one of the most PC places you will find outside of California.

    Anyhow, most people are unaware of the fact that the specialized schools actually DO have an affirmative action program which has been growing.

    So the leftists, even though their attempt to destroy the test has failed – are still winning over the long run – since they keep raising the number of unqualified minorities admitted through the AA program.

  26. Robert Gustafson says

    There is a lot of interesting discussion here.

    I am approximately the author’s age and grew up in Brooklyn. I probably could have qualified for admission to Brooklyn Tech, but chose the easier commute to James Madison H.S. There were 1400 graduates in the JMHS class of 1967; one of them was African American.

    Twenty years after graduation, I decided to become a teacher in a public school system. I earned my degree and was given my license and started teaching in what can easily be classified as a ghetto high school. It was there that I learned that Black America and non-Black America are two different countries on the same piece of territory.

    Commentators here have written on the disparity of performance between upwardly mobile children, usually Asian or Jewish, and the less-blessed, attributable to poor elementary education. I disagree. It is my observation that the large majority of African American youth unwittingly model their behavior on the character of Topsy in Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” There is fundamentally no difference in doing homework assigned by a white teacher (or a black Uncle Tom working for a white administration) and picking cotton. Therefore homework, and classwork isn’t done, material is not learned and black children don’t qualify for selective schools.

  27. Maccy says

    Measuring intelligence via the task of mindlessly memorizing and regurgitating facts is questionable.

    That would be the area to improve instead of affirmative action.

    • Eero says

      Ability to mindlessly memorize and regurgitate facts would be reflected in GPA, not in standardized testing like the SHSAT, which function primarily as IQ tests. Have you ever even taken SAT or any standardized test? You have to APPLY basic facts you’ve learned like knowing what 2+2=4 means and why but beyond that you’re on your own solving more complex math problems and answering questions on language/reading comprehension.

      Intelligence is not measured by the task of mindlessly memorizing and regurgitating facts. Studies have found class valedictorians graduating with the highest grades in their class are rarely especially successful as adults, at least no more so than the average student, since GPA largely measures how well students can study and memorize material to spit out on specific prepared exams the way a specific teacher wants, playing the strict rules of the ‘game’ of school; not very out-of-the-box, imaginative, creative or critical thinkers, not necessarily highly intelligent. Standardized tests which largely reflect IQ are thus much better measures of intelligence.

  28. Jorge S says

    There are two ways to increase admissions for any group: increase their test-taking abilities or lower the admissions standards for that group.

    The former requires resources, time, creative solutions, and a change in mindset, but in the long run is will lead to becoming successful adults who earn the respect from others. The latter way is a shortcut that will lead to failure and earns resentment from other students, teachers, parents, and even themselves.

  29. Derinda Fullerton says

    The answer lies with parents. Children with supportive ones (who are generally married) do well. Children from dysfunctional families perform poorly because their parents couldn’t give a damn. They also disruptt the education of children who want to learn. Politicians refuse to admit this but it is obvious to anyone who works in education.

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  32. Stuyvesant is another Elite admissions test required NYC High school….some interesting stats here;

    “….[a]ccording to Stanford economist Thomas Sowell, who attended the school in the 1940s while growing up in Harlem. The proportion of blacks attending Stuyvesant as far back as the 1930s approximated the proportion of blacks living in the city at the time. That began to change in the latter part of the 20th century, when the socioeconomic status of blacks was rising and segregation was decreasing. Between 1979 and 1995, the school’s black enrollment dropped to 4.8% from 12.9%, and by 2012 it had fallen to 1.2%.

    “In short, over a period of 33 years, the proportion of blacks gaining admission to Stuyvesant High School fell to just under one-tenth of what it had been before….”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/culture-explains-asians-educational-success-11553640350

    You see, the left cannot explain this drop off ( & will not even address it) , so they’ve decided to airbrush it ala Trotsky out of a photo…

  33. Chad Chen says

    Quillette’s articles and the comments about those articles often focus on blacks snd why they should be excluded from elite institutions because of lower average aptitude test scores for blacks as a group.

    When I was a university undergraduate, I was taught that research by the legendary psychologist and management expert David McClelland had established that while aptitude tests predict classroom performance well, they do not predict career success well. Most of the high-scoring Asians and Jews who acquire credentials from elite schools do not invent anything, or improve their professions, or become professional leaders. In fact, their college days are the high point of their lives. They may go on to make money for themselves, but they seldom improve socuety or its technology.

    If so, why the big fuss about IQ.

    • Eero says

      That applies to students at the top of their class in terms of grades, not standardized test scores measuring IQ. Succeeding at the game of school is in large part a measure of ability to follow rules and succeed within the rigid framework you are given, not to question rules or innovate or re-think things your own way. Spend hours studying to memorize the facts exactly as you know a specific teacher wants you to spit out on a scheduled exam in order to earn an A. Simple input-output.

      Class valedictorians are thus rarely especially uniquely successful adults, they are unlikely to be imaginative, creative, out-of-the-box critical thinkers and innovators. Whereas you have plenty of cases of guys who spend their days in class daydreaming thinking about all different subjects besides what the teacher is saying, questioning everything, not doing so great in terms of grades, deciding to drop out of school and become extraordinarily successful and innovative, for example in the tech industry*.

      IQ alone won’t predict such creative success. Creativity and critical thinking skills are needed. However high IQ is still a necessary condition for such success, just not sufficient. Low-IQ people are unlikely to ever invent something great to improve society.

      *Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, other tech billionaire dropouts include Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey…school wasn’t for them, but I would bet all their billions that all of them have above-average IQ at the very least. All of them would likely score highly on the SHSAT, even though they weren’t very good at school or classroom grades.

      • Chad Chen says

        Can you find any rigorous, large-scale academic study demonstrating a high correlation between high aptitude test scores and career success? I cannot find a single one.

        Admittedly, such studies are expensive to conduct, and require a huge time investment. But we have a lot of people who simply assume that the “brightest” students turn out to be the most consequential engineers, scientists, surgeons, architects, military commanders, etc. And as best I can tell, it isn’t so.

        You mentioned Steve Jobs. Jobs was a salesman and a designer. You should have mentioned Steve Wozniak, since Steve was the original brain behind Apple computers.

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