January 31st, 2014

At P.S. 193…

…all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

21 Responses to “At P.S. 193…”

  1. Gringo Says:

    Ah diversity, diversity.

  2. Paul in Boston Says:

    193 typo

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul in Boston:

    Thanks. Will fix.

    Although I bet it’s true for P.S. 139, too.

  4. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    “Fair,“ “discriminatory,” “racist” or not, the “tracking” system that was in effect when I was in high school in the late 1950s and early 1960s seemed like a pretty good idea, since it seemed to me that it maximized the use of each individual’s different talents, and did not result in square pegs being forced into round holes, and my guess is that, over all, it made for happier, more contented students and adults.

    Test kids early, those with higher I.Qs/aptitudes/interests were put on a more rigorous academic track, those with lower I.Qs and/or more mechanical interests and aptitudes on a non-academic or trades track.

    Those who could benefit from higher level instruction got it, their teachers could concentrate on teaching and not discipline, and their classes moved at a faster pace, without a lot of bored and/or disruptive kids holding them back. Those who could not benefit from an academic curriculum were educated at a slower pace on subjects that they could better comprehend and likely had more affinity and liking for, and society in general got both the thinkers and the doers it needed.

    Back then it was all business and our teachers knew their stuff, with not a hint of their personal ideology or preferences intruding on their teaching.

    Of course, as part of this setup discipline was pretty strict and teachers—back then, not afraid of students—usually didn’t take any crap from students and first warned, then punished, and then quickly ejected disruptive students and our few budding criminals from class, and we had more than a few bad actors transferred to a “disciplinary high school“ i.e. I’d imagine jail with a small “j”. No excuses, no exculpatory psychiatric/psychological diagnoses, or Ritalin.

    Now, from the evidence, it seems that many teachers are ill-educated, don’t really thoroughly know their subjects, and are more Leftist propagandists than anything else, are afraid of students, and the idea has moved on from “equality of opportunity” to “equality of results” i.e. everybody is a “winner” and college material (it’s a “right” don’t ya know), so don’t damage their fragile egos, and just jam those square pegs into those round holes, no matter what.

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    Will they be shining the diversity light on sports teams?

  6. Gringo Says:

    Wolla Dalbo, here is an anecdote on tracking in the 21st century. I knew of an elementary school where the two fifth grade teachers did the unspeakable: they split the students so that one teacher took the higher level students, and the other teacher took the lower level students. It didn’t take the kids long to label the splits as “the smart class” and “the dumb class.”

    I predict that cancelling the gifted program because it wasn’t “diverse” enough will result in the school becoming less “diverse.” Well-educated parents with gifted children- which in this school tend to be white- will seek out other schools with gifted programs. NYC libs may be “good libs” who love “diversity,” dislike Bible-thumpers [even though they don't know any] and all those proper “progressive” thoughts, but they are NOT going to sacrifice their children’s education for their political ideology.

    My cousin and her husband, artist-types who have lived in SoHo for decades, sent their daughter to a private school when there was no space for her at a nearby highly rated public school. An interesting book about what happens when affluent, highly educated whites intersect with poor minorities is What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse. The park and the penthouse in the book are a five minute walk from where my cousin lives. My cousin and her husband are not as affluent as the author, though.

  7. Eric Says:

    Neo,

    Related, do you know the latest status of the NAACP LDF et al campaign to replace the SHSAT?

    In that case, of course, the complaint is about Asian majorities, not white majorities, in NYC’s elite exam high schools.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Many blacks consider Asians smarter than whites or blacks combined. The fact that they don’t see that as racist is probably a mark of the education level of modern times.

    You see, the Asians aren’t at the high levels due to effort or work, but due to genes. If blacks had those genes, they would be superior to whites too.

  9. n.n Says:

    Diversity, huh? How many children are in the program, 1, 2, 3? Oh, they mean a corrupt conception of diversity which denigrates individual dignity. Well, they do believe that human beings are interchangeable and disposable, commodities without intrinsic value. At least they are consistent.

  10. n.n Says:

    re: diversity diversion

    Like economics, medical care, energy production, etc., education is hard, and deserves a quick fix which creates a perception of “progress”.

  11. Eric Says:

    FYI, the correct school is PS 139, not PS 193.

    http://insideschools.org/elementary/browse/school/909

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Eric:

    That’s bizarre. When I first wrote this post, I transposed the numbers from the article I linked and had written “P.S. 139″ rather than 193. “Paul in Boston” corrected me, and I went back to the article and checked, and then corrected the post.

    And now it seems my original mistake was right after all, and it was the article that was wrong? Weird!

  13. blert Says:

    “But what difference does it make?”

    %%%

    At Lake Wobegone the ENTIRE class is above average — as is everyone else.

    %%%

    Wolla Dalbo…

    I first ran into that scheme, circa 1965, with one teacher taking the middles and the other taking the extremes (bright and dull)

    Not being previously ‘calibrated’ I proved to be a ringer in the ‘middles.’

    My previous teacher (4th and 5th) was so obsessed with me that she followed me up to the 5th grade.

    Only decades later I found out that she was a spinster — and distant cousin.

    Ultimately I ended up with a ‘battling cume’ that set state records for heft and thickness by the time I graduated.

    (As in 4″ thick.)

    %%%

    As for my experiences during those two years…

    I commonly arose from sleep shaking out of my nightmares. Too much teacher. (Like a Nazi concentration camp, you didn’t ever know where to step, how fast to read, or what else would set the psycho on edge. When you’re that young, profound mental illness is not a concept that is comprehended, especially when all of the authority figures inform you that Ms. Maniac is A okay.)

    (What kind of school administrator permits an obsessed teacher to follow a student into his next year?…)

    %%%

    Being a prodigy has its own perils — when they distort all of the adults around you.

    %%%

    As perverted as my own experiences have been, they’re topped by too many I know…

    What of a classmate who scored in the top 50 nationally? (NMSQT todays PSAT) He was whipped raw, unable to attend class. His idiot father totally rejected him. Every ‘A’ brought a whipping. That’s no joke.

    He scored well precisely because he thought that his results would never be reported back to his father.

    How sick is that?

    %%%

    My Sister is a schoolmarm — for the Microsoft set. (She’s just down the road from HQ.)

    After thirty-years of teaching, she’s discovered that parents are the WORST evaluators of their own children. They either think them dunces or brainiacs. It’s amazing that any child survives.

    Her worst student has an awful IQ — it’s 100. That’s a nightmare when the average IQ of the parents is around 138. The poor devil’s parents just can’t understand why their third child is so dull — as to be average.

    %%%

    Life is tough all over. It’s mind breaking when your parents and teachers lie to you — even to themselves — about where you stand.

    Or as my Father intoned, ” It’s impossible to teach you anything.”

    BOTH extremely bright and extremely dull students should not be nailed to the average track.

    America’s problem is that it can’t politically accept that some kids are born really, really, smart.

    The one thing that I noticed with Jewish family life is that they, almost uniquely, can accept having really bright babies. Most other cultures can talk a good game — but can’t deliver.

    Then, they become embittered by Jewish success in all of the intellectual arts. The connection is not made.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bell-Curve-Intelligence-Structure-Paperbacks/dp/0684824299

    Herrnstein and Murray point out that our society is going through a splitting on this axis.

    Barry thinks he’s the one when he’s the other….

    Such is the Harvard way.

  14. Beverly Says:

    Thank you, God, for putting me on this earth when they still had tracking and academically gifted courses. (I was still bored half the time, but the Harrison Bergeron option would’ve been a nightmare.)

    Now, we Really need to see more diversity on the basketball court, on the track, and on the the gridiron, people!

  15. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Blert—Yah, I still fondly remember my old, sadistic, grey-haired 2nd grade teacher, also a spinster, who liked to pinch your chin with her dagger-like thumbnail until it bled. What a great inspiration she was.

    Would this psycho teacher be shit canned in a minute today?

    Somehow, given the stranglehold teachers unions have on the educational system and how hard it is to fire anybody, I don’t think so.

    As a contemporary example of the kinds of things going on in elementary education that don’t result in firing see, for instance, this example (http://nypost.com/2014/01/19/city-ignored-teachers-pleas-to-ax-lunatic-principal-since-05/)

  16. Wry Mouth Says:

    You can have “diversity” as a first principle, or you can have “greatness.”

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    From the Left’s point of view, if minorities suddenly got smarter (more successful) than the Left’s children, that would be like cats and dogs becoming the masters of the household.

    They will view it with a very unnatural eye. Greatness in one’s pets can only be tolerated so far.

  18. JuliB Says:

    An old friend of mine is a progressive. She was involved in an education degree (art perhaps?) while in college. Luckily, she went to focus on university student life.

    More than once, she criticized tracking. Her idea was that students should work together across all ranges since that would benefit the group most. In other words, the bright ones would help the less bright ones learn.

    OMG. Having been in the gifted classes in school I told her it wouldn’t work. And, that it was unfair to the bright ones. Why should I not be challenged and instead do the work of the teachers, to kids who would resent/hate me? I had one bio class that I had to take with ‘average’ kids, and since I was sitting in the back of the classroom, everyone around me got As. I’m sure she would have been thrilled at hearing that, but it meant that the guys thought I was cool to help them. There were a bunch of partiers and jocks sitting near me.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    JuliB:

    If it hadn’t been for tracking in school I don’t know what I would have done. I remember hearing, a bit after I left school, that the egalitarian, end-of-tracking educators were beginning to triumph. I shuddered, knowing how bad this would be for the smarter kids.

    And this was back when I was a liberal.

    De-tracking fools no one, either. Everyone knows who the smart kids are and who the slow kids are. The smart kids are being sacrificed, and it’s purposeful.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    The smarter kids can learn 5000% more from the internet. They should just skip school entirely then. But then I suppose that’s what home schooling is for.

    Things like philosophy 101 and history, they can definitely absorb easier than class lectures. As for math, they’re going to need mathematical test programs. If it is just solving math problems, we got software that does the same thing as a teacher at a chalkboard.

    But faster.

  21. MissJean Says:

    I must mention this: tracking is even less allowable now that most special ed children MUST be in regular ed classrooms. (Believe it or not, it’s the legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education.) If they’re earning a high school diploma – and most parents won’t settle for a certificate – that means they must take the 2 years of foreign language, the four of science, etc.

    Teachers can’t “dumb down” the curriculum, either. You can only modify assessments and “differentiate instruction” so that you might cover the same material three different ways to make sure it’s accessible the visual learner, the auditory learner, etc. You can’t record modifications in the gradebook or transcripts, but you MUST keep a discrete – and utterly indispensable – file of the ways you’ve modified the assessments, seating, etc. and how the student performed each time.

    On the other hand, teachers are “flipping” their classrooms and using blended learning so some students can do more of their work at their own pace. Or having their parents do their work – it’s really hard to tell for online assessments. I know a hs teacher who has 96 students in one class; they show up to class a couple times a week and do the rest with iPads and laptops. But you can imagine that she has to simplify all assignments so she can correct them and still teach her “normal” classes.

    I foresee a time when employers will have their own entrance exams, just to be on the safe side. And then there will be cram courses to pass those. :)

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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