African-American students were lagging far behind their white classmates in every measure of academic success: grade-point average, standardized test scores, and enrollment in advanced-placement courses. On average, black students earned a 1.9 GPA while their white counterparts held down an average of 3.45. Other indicators were equally dismal. It made no sense.When these depressing statistics were published in a high school newspaper in mid-1997, black parents were troubled by the news and upset that the newspaper had exposed the problem in such a public way. Seeking guidance, one parent called a prominent authority on minority academic achievement.UC Berkeley Anthropology Professor John Ogbu had spent decades studying how the members of different ethnic groups perform academically. He’d studied student coping strategies at inner-city schools in Washington, DC. He’d looked at African Americans and Latinos in Oakland and Stockton and examined how they compare to racial and ethnic minorities in India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Britain. His research often focused on why some groups are more successful than others.But Ogbu couldn’t help his caller. He explained that he was a researcher — not an educator — and that he had no ideas about how to increase the academic performance of students in a district he hadn’t yet studied. A few weeks later, he got his chance. A group of parents hungry for solutions convinced the school district to join with them and formally invite the black anthropologist to visit Shaker Heights. Their discussions prompted Ogbu to propose a research project to figure out just what was happening. The district agreed to finance the study, and parents offered him unlimited access to their children and their homes.
The professor and his research assistant moved to Shaker Heights for nine months in mid-1997. They reviewed data and test scores. The team observed 110 different classes, from kindergarten all the way through high school. They conducted exhaustive interviews with school personnel, black parents, and students. Their project yielded an unexpected conclusion: It wasn’t socioeconomics, school funding, or racism, that accounted for the students’ poor academic performance; it was their own attitudes, and those of their parents.
Ogbu concluded that the average black student in Shaker Heights put little effort into schoolwork and was part of a peer culture that looked down on academic success as “acting white.”
Citing the fact that an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing the test, members of the New York state Board of Regents plans to adopt a task force’s recommendation to eliminate the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, given to prospective teachers.
In Detroit, black parents gathered together to sue the teachers for failure. Sadly the failure is in their own genetics. In the end the issue is not to fix the education, but to fix the jobs that these people are vying for. A few will be able to be come doctors, lawyers, engineers. But very few. Some will be great thinkers like Sowell. But the bell curve tells a difficult story. The numbers of the 120+ IQ blacks is thousands of times rarer than for Europanic men. Instead these need to be identified early and put on that track, but for the rest, basic business training basic trades and even basic burden work should be the coursework. Training in showing up for work on time and the value of a hards day work and a simple life. All our efforts of pushing them into college high brained programs only makes them decry RACISM when their outcomes don’t match those of the High IQ europanic people around them. And now that same mis-use of Egalitarianism and misunderstanding is fomenting violence in America, ANGER that they do not have the paths to prosperity opened to them. So time and time again, tests to become firemen, police officers, government workers are all removed. The once high standards for civil service are forgotten. And our nation rots out of fear of offense. A stinking deep rot. Walk the streets of Detroit and you can smell it.