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    I am not really sure what to make of the article that you supplied us with, HK. I do agree that SE factors play a large role in outcomes and that unfortunately we are in an arms race.

    I also think that the lack of tracking in public schools is the main cause of the polarisation of educational outcomes more than anything else. Tracking allowed kids of from humbler origins to be identified and enabled. The banishment of tracking has allowed the higher SES kids to get prepped for the one-off tests instead of showing constant and consistent ability above the mean as tracking did. Of course, this is all 'folk wisdom' no one will ever get a study looking deeply into it funded...

    Last edited by madeinuk; 04/29/13 04:46 PM.

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    What I wonder, also, is whether or not such studies (of SES and accomplishment) ignore educational attainment of parents in favor of household incomes, which may be a looser proxy for many of the same factors--

    because it IS true that there is a correlation between those things.

    It just seems (and again, anecdotal, this) that most faculty expect their children to attain post-baccalaureate degrees, and that they DO.

    Well, terminal degrees are certainly associated strongly with both high IQ and with high SES.

    But I'm not sure that any of that is specifically causative. Which leads me back to madeinUK's remarks above.

    NCLB has certainly caused a lot of trouble, hasn't it? Or maybe it isn't causative either.

    Sooo complicated.


    This is why I specifically indicated that the comments on the article were every bit as intriguing as the linked blog entry, though. Lots of different opinions and anecdote. If even half of those things are true, then the answer is that there is anecdote aplenty to rip apart everyone's pet hypothesis on the subject. Mine, too. LOL.


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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    NCLB has certainly caused a lot of trouble, hasn't it? Or maybe it isn't causative either.

    NCLB made a bad situation worse.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    Because in districts like mine, where every parent is vying for their kids to be ID-ed as "GT" early on... and some 25-30% of the district IS thus labeled, it tends to water the programs down so significantly for MG+ kids that the entire system just becomes pretty broad 'tracking' for college-bound kids. The vast majority are ideally intelligent (probably NOT gifted, in other words, but close) and advantaged by any definition of the term. Most of those come from the top 25% of incomes locally, and just anecdotally, a lot of them are fairly Tiger-like households.

    It also means that anyone asking to have a truly HG+ child's needs met is initially met with scorn and derision, because everyone here has had a run-in with "that" parent. The entitled helicopter parent from hell, whose special snowflake deserves only the very very bestest of everything...

    I'm interested in others' thoughts here. I have even suspected that IQ testing is starting to be viewed by some educators/administrators as proof positive that parents have jumped on that bandwagon. It explains a LOT of why parents are increasingly getting pushback re: outside testing and high scores.

    you have just described my district. And even though I am only at the beginning of advocating for dd6, and the school knows that dd12's one-yr. skip is successful (socially and academically) I can already sense the eye-rolling etc. (Thankfully I think the assistant principal does somewhat get it and could potentially be an ally). Anyway, off to read the article now. These issues certainly inspire me to get off my butt and finally finish my master's in education and get my state teaching certificate. Although it is pretty depressing to think how little difference one teacher can make (except to the individual student...)

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    Originally Posted by Dude
    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    HK, do you really think that observed SES differences in IQ and academic achievement are *primarily* due to "gaming the system"?

    I am heartened to see that tons of NYT commenters understand The Bell Curve. I will quote just one, named ".N".

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/no-rich-child-left-behind/?comments#permid=2

    Quote
    There isn't a single mention of the possible (likely) role of IQ differences. IQ is heritable--the extent to which it is heritable is debated, but there's overwhelming agreement that it is largely heritable. IQ is correlated with "life outcomes," a proxy for which is often income.

    So, we would expect lower IQ members of the population to be poorer (on average) and to beget children who are (on average) of a similar IQ as the parents. From that perspective, it's completely predictable to have lower income families with children with (on average) worse academic achievement. Throw on top of that a misplacement of priorities, and the disparity isn't all that surprising.

    The social Darwinism argument is the new divine right argument. It's just another attempt by the wealthy to rationalize away their anti-social tendencies.

    A mom who doesn't help with the homework because she's busy trying to put food on the table has misplaced priorities... sure.
    Thank you Dude. ITA.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    But will higher INCOME mean the best chance at happiness? Would my daughter want her colleagues and peers to be the 'elite?' Are they really the best/brightest? I strongly suspect not. I think that they are just the 'fittest' and I think that it isn't the same thing.

    The reason that the answer matters to me personally is that my daughter is someone who finds that ethically ambiguous super-competitive peer cohort to be abhorrent-- revolting in the extreme. I certainly don't want to groom her for that, if that is really what it is. She is troubled deeply by inequity.

    Yes. My dd12 is similar. I have come to the same conclusion.

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    If the top 10% of earners aren't "rich," what is rich? Top 5%? Top 1%? I'm curious.

    Would people prefer "upper-middle class"? I'd grant that might be a better descriptor. But 165K is not middle class. Don't kid yourself.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    I was also interested to see what folks who follow education (and cognitive difference/development) research thought of the piece.

    I was perplexed by the apparent oversimplifications inherent in it, personally.

    I was also disappointed with the oversimplifications, but not surprised. I suspect that most people either can't or don't want to dig into the complexities of a problem. I realize that no one can dig into the details of some question every time, but the education problem in this country seems to be particularly resistant to thoughtful, nuanced debate (or even recognition) of its complexities.

    People get offended and start shouting when they hear an idea they don't like (which is already starting on this thread). Perhaps this tendency is one reason for why it's so difficult to really get into the details of the problems in our education system.

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    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-22/how-did-the-worlds-rich-get-that-way-luck
    "...Canadian economists Miles Corak and Patrizio Piraino look at how often men end up working at the same company where their father worked, finding that as many as 40 percent have done that at some point. The proportion rises to 70 percent among the top 1 percent in income distribution. This helps to explain why the relationship between the earnings of parent and child is even higher at the top end than it is across the population at large, according to Corak... At any level beyond the local, differences in income due to inequality of opportunity dwarf those from inequality of effort or talent..."

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    Quote
    creating a system which is infinitely easier to 'game' than ever before. The temptation to do so if one has the means must just be overwhelming when you consider the stakes/outcomes in play. There really is no end to the kind of rationalizing that parents will do in the service of getting their kids EVERY advantage possible. Consider the steep rise in the number of teenaged kids getting initial 'diagnoses' in the early 2000's when College Board got rid of the asterisk for testing with accommodations. Suddenly some 20% of test takers at wealthy schools "needed" extra time? Really?

    I thought of this also. I also thought about the # of kids using ADHD meds as study drugs.

    The author of the piece is making a pretty major claim--that pricey extracurriculars, luxe preschool, and tutoring are what is driving the achievement gap. I read a lot of education research and I haven't seen anybody talking about this. That doesn't mean it's completely false--but AFAIK, the more widely held belief is that it isn't so, well, financial, although these parenting practices are often ASSOCIATED with wealth, or more accurately, education and cultural capital. It's more about vocabulary, reading aloud, going to the museum, talking to your child in a "Why do you think so?" way rather than a "Stop! Put that down!" kind of way...These things don't really take money. GOOD preschool--well, okay. Good preschool is very important, but 25k/year preschool? I don't think we have any data showing that we need 25K/year preschool.

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