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    A WA parent, RickF, Mick Costigan, beGalileo, oliviaerin
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    Joined: Jul 2011
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    When I attended a top tier school I found it completely devoid of "my people." "My people" were other deviants from poor, broken homes. We had developed a counterculture that I identified very strongly with. No one I met at college dressed the way we dressed, or listened to the music we liked. I was surrounded by advantaged kids from private schools with whom I had very little in common.

    I found that many of these students were open-minded and not judgmental, despite their privileged upbringings. I made friends fairly easily, and I learned to appreciate having conversations with my intellectual peers. In that domain, I was with "my people" for the first time. Now I have 2 sets of friends, and I appreciate them both in different ways.

    Sometimes I see people here post about having difficulty finding opportunities for their children to interact with "true peers". HK has posted about her daughter being bemused by smart boys choosing to date girls less intelligent than themselves. I say there is much more to a person than their intellect. Your associations are based on criteria of your own choosing. These criteria need not be centered around intellectual ability, and we shouldn't be surprised if others with high ability choose different criteria than we do.

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    Yeah, DH and I are not "joiners" the way some people are. We're a little odd among every setting we've ever found ourselves in. DD is a bit that way, too. We're all polymaths, which is often a quirky thing even among very smart groups.


    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    "The new goal is WINNING (the admissions race, competitions, etc.) rather than LEARNING. "

    My kid played Quiz Bowl because it was fun, not to "win the admissions race". She didn't apply to any Ivies, although she got great results from her college apps. She spent plenty of time just reading in her room, writing and drawing, collecting bugs, etc. -- doing stuff that is not competitive, too. Just don't ascribe your general unhappiness with our overall culture to one kid and one activity. Competition can be fun. I don't see anything wrong with some elements of it in a kid's life as long as the kid chooses the activity, it is age appropriate, and it doesn't dominate their life. In the end she picked a school that is very much about learning (that is what she liked about it).

    Last edited by intparent; 07/25/14 09:57 AM.
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    First, DH was class of 80. His roommate had 3 kids right after law school. The first two went to Harvard, the second is now at Harvard law. The 3rd one couldn't get in, despite having scores exactly like the 1st one, it just got more competitive within a few years.
    DD went from a gifted class in NYC public school where everyone scores in the 99th percentile on the OLSAT, which we know is not a great test, but enough of weeding out. In Toronto, you get into gifted with a 98th percentile on the WISC. DD keeps saying that she doesn't understand why they call it gifted or why these kids are considered gifted. DH came from small city, PA and the only guy from the area that had got into Harvard was 40 years prior. It isn't that he didn't have friends, he did not have intellectual peers.
    I moved to a pretty nice area in Toronto, but after being in NYC and spending decades on Wall Street, I didn't realize how average most people think. The talent pool is really shallow. Did not realize.

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    I am seriously late to this party (EIGHT PAGES? Really, people? laugh ) but I have a few thoughts:

    1) As many have noted, the Ivies and their ilk are selecting for future political, corporate, and social elites, not future intellectuals. There ARE still schools selecting for the latter, and most of them are SLACS. (There are some bigger schools as well, e.g. my impression is that MIT is one.)

    2) That's what the Admissions people at the Ivies care about for admitting undergrads (which I realize was the original point of this thread). But it's not neccessarily what the intellectual atmosphere of the place is, what the faculty care about. (Although, the weird mixed bag of ego and real scholarship among the faculty at those places is another whole topic, don't get me started.)

    3) COHORT MATTERS. The difference between a large state school and a smaller more elite place amounts to this: What the professor can teach is limited by the overall intellectual capability of the class as a whole. Intro Botany really is different at a school that overall has smarter students.

    4) How to find "one's people"? There's no getting around the fact that students at any good school are going to be relatively privileged. But some schools have different cultures than others, and some tend to attract quirky individuals, deep thinkers, and other non-HYPS characteristics.

    5) Bostonian, I agree with you that there are real individual differences in intelligence, and that it matters. But you should know that The Bell Curve is full of garbage science.

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    Just want to add, there ARE ways to get a top-notch education at a larger public university. HK's DD, for example, is already hangin' with a research team. But me, as an undergrad? I was shy, grouchy, and unsure what I wanted to study. I would have drowned in anonymity at a large school.

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    Originally Posted by MegMeg
    5) Bostonian, I agree with you that there are real individual differences in intelligence, and that it matters. But you should know that The Bell Curve is full of garbage science.
    I don't agree. Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence. A characteristic of "garbage science" is that it makes false predictions. Twenty years after the publication of the Bell Curve, the patterns documented in the book do not seem to have changed.

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    I don't agree. Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence. A characteristic of "garbage science" is that it makes false predictions. Twenty years after the publication of the Bell Curve, the patterns documented in the book do not seem to have changed.

    No, the patterns haven't changed much, because the society producing those patterns hasn't changed much. Predicting patterns is not the point of the book, though. It purports to give an analysis of why those patterns exist, and how they emerge.

    Obviously you didn't read the article I linked earlier which enumerated some of its shortcomings. Here's another, and this one is coming from a source that should have been more sympathetic to your views... and indeed, they seem to wish they could agree with the authors, but cannot, because garbage science:

    Originally Posted by article
    A rigorous, well-reasoned challenge to contemporary presumptions about equality, egalitarianism, and the malleability of human beings is long overdue. Had the authors taken more care in presenting their evidence and summarizing that of others, and had they woven their argument more closely, their book would be that challenge. Unfortunately, it is not.


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    Originally Posted by MegMeg
    I am seriously late to this party (EIGHT PAGES? Really, people? laugh ) but I have a few thoughts:

    1) As many have noted, the Ivies and their ilk are selecting for future political, corporate, and social elites, not future intellectuals. There ARE still schools selecting for the latter, and most of them are SLACS. (There are some bigger schools as well, e.g. my impression is that MIT is one.)

    So, where then do you go if you want to be a political, corporate, religious, social, *and* polymath/intellectual elite ?


    Last edited by JonLaw; 07/25/14 11:21 AM.
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    Originally Posted by JonLaw
    Originally Posted by Dude
    No, the patterns haven't changed much, because the society producing those patterns hasn't changed much. Predicting patterns is not the point of the book, though. It purports to give an analysis of why those patterns exist, and how they emerge.

    Plus, being poor makes you stupid.

    Because money.

    Yep. From that same Reason.com article I linked above, bolding added:

    Quote
    The authors present evidence that IQ rises with age and with years of schooling completed. IQ may actually be a better measure of the environment facing children than the measure of environment used by Murray and Herrnstein. They use IQ to predict schooling, but schooling produces IQ. Hence, they are especially likely to find a strong measured effect of "IQ" on schooling.

    But then, this becomes a "duh" sort of observation once you realize that the authors are using AFQT scores as a proxy for IQ, and that the individuals in their data set were tested between age 15-23. The AFQT is not an IQ measure, and was never designed to be one. Its purpose is to predict success in military trade schools, and like the SAT (which was also never designed as an IQ test, but to predict success in college), it mostly measures achievement. So, does academic achievement increase with age and schooling? Duh. Does that say anything about general intelligence? No. If we're truly measuring g, then the results should be stable across age groups, so that's an indicator that there's something wrong here.

    Given that they started with a data set that does not measure what they purport it to measure, any conclusions are bound to be garbage, because garbage in equals garbage out. And that was only the first of their great many mistakes.

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