Education sentences to ponder

by on March 8, 2016 at 3:11 am in Data Source, Education | Permalink

We identify a number of background characteristics (e.g., undergraduate GPA) as well as screening measures (e.g., applicant performance on a mock teaching lesson) that strongly predict teacher effectiveness. Interestingly, we find that these measures are only weakly, if at all, associated with the likelihood of being hired, suggesting considerable scope for improving teacher quality through the hiring process.

That is from a new study of Washington, D.C. public schools.

1 Steve Sailer March 8, 2016 at 3:29 am

Undergraduate GPA also correlates with race, which is a big, big issue in terms of employment in Washington DC public schools. Changing the racial balance of DC public school teachers as a side effect of hiring better ones cost a DC mayor his job in an election not too many years ago.

In general, however, affirmative action in hiring public school teachers has declined since the 1990s, which may have something to do with the modest improvements in NAEP scores seen in recent years.

2 Jan March 8, 2016 at 6:02 am

Is there any evidence it’s a “big big issue” in DC schools now? I’m asking sincerely, because I’ve lived and work in DC and I think the majority of the teachers I see going in and out of schools are actually white–and I am talking about schools in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods.

3 Steve Sailer March 8, 2016 at 7:28 am

Teaming up with Michelle Rhee cost Mayor Fenty re-election in 2011:

But, “The Plan” is working rapidly in clearing blacks out of Washington, so that may be ancient political history by now.

4 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly March 8, 2016 at 10:39 am

Fenty’s problem, to my recollection as a DC resident, was less how the program changed the racial composition of the teacher population, and more how it cut into the business of unions and other entrenched interests, plus his technocratic disdain for explaining himself to the affected communities that were being bombarded with bogeymen by those same interests.

There was certainly still a racial component to that, insofar as the entrenched interests that coalesced against Fenty tend to earn their bread and butter on ethnic spoils, but I don’t recall “too many white teachers” being even an implied part of the campaign against him.

5 Steve Sailer March 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

From the Washington Post:

How D.C. Mayor Fenty lost the black vote – and his job

By Paul Schwartzman and Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 18, 2010; 10:41 PM

… Four years ago, Fenty captured the mayoralty as an Obama-style, post-racial black politician, one whose candidacy was not defined by race but by talk of competence, government efficiency and “best practices.” It was an approach that was embraced by a broad coalition of white and black voters alike.

As mayor, Fenty retained his overwhelming popularity among white voters, as a breakdown of last Tuesday’s vote demonstrates. But he lost the support of vast numbers of black voters who derided him for ignoring their communities and slashing government jobs. Many of those jobs were held by African Americans, who since the advent of D.C. home rule have used city employment as a stepping stone to the middle class.

As Fenty’s mayoralty unfolded, discontent among black voters spread across the city, from affluent enclaves bordering upper 16th Street NW to middle-income areas such as Deanwood, in Northeast, and blue-collar neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

A Washington Post analysis of Tuesday’s primary shows the extent of that disaffection. Fenty won 53 of the city’s majority-white census tracts but only 10 of those that are predominantly black. Gray, in contrast, captured 108 majority-black census tracts and just five that are majority-white. …

Although blacks and whites recognize the importance of the public schools as a vehicle for educating their children, blacks also see the school system as a primary employer, providing jobs to thousands of teachers, school bus drivers, administrators and secretaries. When Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee laid off hundreds of teachers, many blacks saw something more than a simple purge of poorly performing educators. They saw an assault on economic opportunity.

“He fired those teachers, that did it for me,” said Wilson Givens, a retired, black equipment operator who lives in Anacostia, in Southeast, and voted for Fenty in 2006. “Does he understand that a job is a family’s livelihood? I didn’t know anybody who was fired personally, but I can relate. I know how it feels, and I felt for those teachers and their families. That was it for me. Would never trust him again.”

6 charlie March 8, 2016 at 8:00 am

If anything it is the opposite problem.

DC schools pay very well. Ideal place for nice white kids to work 4-5 years.

As you can imagine, they are tremendously ineffective as teachers for high poverty children. DC school need social workers, not educators.

Let’s be honest on DCPS — I’m sure they are producing 2x the number of prison alumni than actual college graduates.

lead in the pipes continues to be a major factor.

7 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

I suspect the only people who fancy you ‘need’ social workers are those already employed as social workers. If a youngster is too disruptive to teach, sequester him and turn him over to the sheriff’s department to be warehoused. If a capable teacher can stuff some remedial education into him in classrooms with six boys in them, that’s gravy. The residual population of students can be taught by…teachers.

8 charlie March 8, 2016 at 10:40 am

In DC, that may be only 10-15% of the public school population.

Students who want to learn are in charters.

9 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

City Journal published an article by a disaffected Teach for America veteran about his disastrous experience in one DC elementary school. The thing was, he had four problem students in a class of 18. I did a bit of temp work years ago in a slum school in Rochester, and that was my experience. Two problem kids in a class of about 18. Quite a variety of people live in slums. Most are working class people some of whom are ill-mannered in select social circumstances. You’re going to get a mess of dopey and / or unmotivated youngsters in slum elementary schools. That means they advance slowly. It does not mean they’re otherwise making the world worse.

10 anon March 8, 2016 at 8:17 am

I was going to do “surely it is undergraduate genetics” as a joke, but I see there is no need.

11 tjamesjones March 8, 2016 at 4:24 am

teachers unions

12 Jan March 8, 2016 at 5:57 am

The explanation for everything that is “very bad” about education in this country!

13 Boris_Badenoff March 8, 2016 at 6:23 am

Teachers’ unions – like all unions – aren’t there to protect the good teachers. They exist to protect the below-average workers. That certainly isn’t the entire problem with public education today – much can be said of 40 years of increasing federal control and influence – but it isn’t nothing, either. Improving any faculty begins with getting rid of the chafe. Unions fight that tooth & nail.

14 gab March 8, 2016 at 6:43 pm

I think applying baby powder to the affected faculty area should fix that problem.

15 education realist March 8, 2016 at 4:32 am

Not so much hiring public school teachers as creating them. Ed schools were forced to choose between getting low rankings that weren’t their fault or killing the cash cow of tuition paid by people who were never going to pass the credential test. They chose the latter. Ed Schools and Affirmative Action

Steve’s absolutely right that whenever reformers tout an effort to improve teacher quality, they are killing teacher diversity. Meanwhile, they whine that ed schools aren’t diverse. Well, most alternate credential programs, with the exception of TFA, are actually designed to train black and Hispanics to pass the credential tests–so by definition, they’re “diverse”. TFA deliberately recruits blacks and Hispanics who can pass the credential test (second careers, people who already have teaching credentials), and has upped their presence in states with low credential cut scores.

On the other hand, not sure why anyone would say that teacher GPA strongly predicts teacher effectiveness. There’s little to no evidence that credential test scores predict teacher effectiveness, (Cite), and credential tests are much more objective than GPA. Lots of evidence that whites from crap schools get higher credential scores than blacks from Tier one schools (Cite, although you can more easily read the big points here.)

On the other hand, while test scores and GPA have relatively little to do with student achievement, teacher’s race does. Black students pretty persistently do better with black teachers.

16 anon March 8, 2016 at 8:20 am

Testing measures potential, GPA measures output.

Students learn from output, not what teacher might have done.

17 Daniel Weber March 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

I’m sorry if I’ve asked you before, but how much does teacher quality matter?

typically the answer depends on whom I ask and what they are trying to prove at that particular minute.

18 education realist March 8, 2016 at 4:41 am

Not sure why my last comment is in moderation, unless it’s because I put in links. But the short version, in case Tyler doesn’t release the link:

1) It’s not so much affirmative action in hiring, but affirmative action in creating teachers, that’s ended. Back in 1998, ed schools required teachers to pass the credential test to get a credential. Before that, they gave out the credential and black teachers in particular could get hired with an emergency credential, never actually getting a real one. This game ended in 2002, with NCLB. The new ed law has actually removed that requirement, which means you’ll probably see more blacks getting hired without credentials.

2) Steve’s absolutely right that reform measures tend to hurt black teachers and bring in new white teachers. All efforts to improve teacher quality involve test scores, and thus negatively impact black and Hispanic teacher populations.

3) Any time a study sez that teacher GPA or teacher SAT scores or teacher credential scores impact student outcomes, treat carefully. It’s simply not borne out by reality. Teacher race, on the other hand, has persistently shown to have impact, at least in the case of blacks–that is, black teachers have better outcomes with black students.

4) Something I forgot to mention in my last post: it’s well established that the teacher hiring process is mostly a matter of what warm bodies are available when the schools decide to hire. You will get no more consideration if you came from Teachers College or Stanford than if you came from Podunk U. People go to good ed schools to improve their odds of getting into a good grad school program–that is, it usually means they are thinking of getting a PhD. It matters zip in hiring. And the fact is that despite all the “research” assuring us that certain teacher quality indicators are predictive, administrators know better. So they ignore most of them and go with gut instincts in interview and the first year.

19 Steve Sailer March 8, 2016 at 5:21 am

Teach for America, in contrast, puts a sizable amount of effort into hiring, using roughly the same criteria as MBA schools and corporations: college prestige, undergrad GPA, and demonstrated leadership achievement. (I don’t think they use test scores directly, but the prestige of the applicant’s college is a proxy for that).

20 carlolspln March 8, 2016 at 5:03 am
21 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 1:34 pm

That’s an excellent article until the author ignores their own logic and goes down a side trail.

“Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a “bad” school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher. … the U.S. is just below average, half a standard deviation below a clump of relatively high-performing countries like Canada and Belgium. According to Hanushek, the U.S. could close that gap simply by replacing the bottom six per cent to ten per cent of public-school teachers with teachers of average quality. ”

This would indicate that the correct solution if for the US to start firing the worst 10% of teachers.

Instead the author avoids the obvious solution and instead goes down a tangential path: “But there’s a hitch: no one knows what a person with the potential to be a great teacher looks like.”

The US doesn’t need to hire superstar teachers as much as it needs to fire obviously bad teachers.

22 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 5:41 am

I’m somewhat surprised that there’s a strong relationship between GPA and teaching quality. I surmise that people who are dedicated hard working people in school are similarly dedicated and hard working as teachers. I mean, how many teachers in primary or secondary schooling actually need deep knowledge of their subject area to be an effective teacher at those levels of schooling?

In most Canadian provinces, most teachers have several years of experience as supply teachers before they get hired full time, so by the time they get hired full time they are basically a known quantity.

23 Jim March 8, 2016 at 6:17 am

I suspect that almost no one is a good teacher at first. It takes a few years, and the least dedicated, those who never worked for high grades, quit before they have a chance to become good.

Of course, there may also be a group who stays in not because they care and improve, but because they don’t care and don’t worry about improving.

24 anon March 8, 2016 at 8:23 am

There was an article last year about teacher training. The idea was that teacher education was abstract, and not about what to do with a spitwad or drifting attention. Someone had come up with a ring-binder of “moves” that could be taught, and were effective. Anyone remember the link?

We probably have too much an idea that teaching is magic, is about loving the kids, or inspiring them. Inspiration might be useful, but mostly I think it is about keeping them on track for serous lessons.

25 Steve Sailer March 8, 2016 at 8:46 am

Another aspect is that our society needs to back up teachers. Not everybody is a Donald Trump who can command the room through natural alpha maleness. If we want sensitive teachers who can communicate their love of “The Great Gatsby,” schools have to be ready to back up the frontline teachers’ authority with professional disciplinarians, such as assistant football coaches / deans of discipline who live to put punks in their places.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s war on disparate impact discrimination is penalizing teachers who ask for backup. The way it works is that the feds can’t sum up anything that happens in the classroom, so whatever a teacher does to humiliate unruly students within the classroom is fine with the schools. But if the teacher asks for backup from the office, it can get counted by the feds and used to persecute the school as racist.

26 anon March 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

Isn’t it true that the Bush and Obama administrations have had in common a measurement focus, and a search for value added? Hasn’t that been found to be a productive pursuit? You can quibble about details, and your hobby horses, but this is very much better than “every teacher is a special flower.”

27 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 8:58 am

Agreed. However, there may come a time when we have the sense to send most youngsters to vocational high schools, and we quite trying to stuff imaginative literature down the throats of youngsters who are adverse to it. If a youth of 14 can write grammatical English, can do algebra, can recite a schematic timeline of American history, has a broad idea of where the biomes and major settlements are in this country, and has a sense of the architecture of public institutions, that’s enough academic schooling. Math is foundational, literature and biology are not.

28 prior_test2 March 8, 2016 at 9:50 am

‘Not everybody is a Donald Trump who can command the room through natural alpha maleness.’

So alpha, he asks women to examine his scalp for evidence of his alphaness- and they do.

‘”I don’t wear a toupee. It’s my hair,” Trump insisted in a video captured by CNN. “It’s my hair! I swear.”

Unsatisfied that the crowd really believed him, Trump, 69, zeroed in on a woman in the audience and summoned her to the stage.

“Real quick, we don’t want to mess it up too much because I do use hair spray. Come, come,” he told her.

Mary Margaret Bannister, a registered Republican who is married to South Carolina House Majority Leader Rep. Bruce Bannister, took the stage alongside Trump, who leaned his head forward for her inspection.

“Is it mine?” Trump asked.

“It is,” she nodded.

“Say it, please,” he instructed, pointing her toward the microphone.

“Yes, I believe it is,” she said, then confirmed that the two had never met before that moment.

“It was a very bizarre experience,” Bannister told CNN, admitting she only saw Trump’s roots and didn’t actually pull his hair.


When the real estate mogul made his first stop as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire in June, he invited a different woman on stage “to make sure it’s real,” Fox News reported.

Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren, who was watching the whole thing, was baffled. “This is the first hair-touching I’ve heard of [in a presidential campaign],” she said.

It seems Trump’s hair is a sore spot for him.

After announcing his candidacy in Iowa in June, he mocked rival Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s hair.

“I have better hair than he does. Believe me. It is my hair,” Trump said.

During his latest toupee test on Thursday, Trump told Bannister, “You have to do an inspection … this is getting crazy.”


29 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

Art – I think there’s a lot of merit to the line of thinking you propose. However, wrt literature, I think it is worth noting that narrative and story telling have long been important to humans in passing on traditions about where we come from, what is important, and various sorts of foreboding messages about what can go wrong if we fail to internalize the messages of many great stories. They are also an accessible lens into history (e.g., Dickens and early industrial age) which is essentially quite boring for most youngsters to study, or social/political problems (e.g., Lord of the Flies). I’m not sure why we spend so much time on Shakespeare and various Scottish/English poets, however.

Short: story telling is who we are, in many ways. So, we should not remove literature from education.

30 Sam P March 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

Programs like Success for All, Direct Instruction, KIPP do a lot of lesson scripting: reportedly some teachers find too regimented and confining, and some find the structure supportive.

31 anon March 8, 2016 at 8:54 am


32 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 9:25 am

Definitely yes, keeping them on track for serious lessons. Inspiration is just a tool to that end, and I don’t think there’s any reason not to be forthright about this.

Part of the “magic”, I would say, is just being very attuned to the dynamics of the audience, say, intuiting that half the class doesn’t know wtf you’re talking about and trying again slightly differently, much like an experienced public speaker might do, reading the crowd sort of stuff. Some students are just serial attention drifters and spitwaders – you can place them all right under your nose, but even then it will only do so much good …

Then again, it’s kind of like economists – ask ten economists and you’ll get ten different opinions. Where things get really bad is with teachers who flat out don’t care, and just go through the motions, hand out some OK marks, and pass on the damaged goods to the next year. Thing is, another teacher can spot that sort of bad teacher a mile away, but a standardized test will rarely tell you much (to the firm protestation of those who believe standardized tests are the be all and end all).

33 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

I suspect that almost no one is a good teacher at first.

I’ve been out of school a long time. IIRC, there wasn’t much of a relationship between experience and effectiveness. One of the more capable teachers I had was 23 years old and fresh out of school. The lousy teachers had emotional problems manifest in class, or an incapacity to explain anything, or were poor disciplinarians, or had given up trying to teach anyone anything serious and were going through the motions. I also crossed paths with period-piece open-classroom aficionados, who got the same results as did the burnouts.

34 Peldrigal March 8, 2016 at 9:42 am

I am extremely distrustful of any statement of this kind “Skill X cannot be taught. You have to learn it on the job”.
In my latest years of high school, I got the first influx of teachers that had taken teaching school after graduation. They were substantially better than the other teachers, and because teaching school gave them more points on the grade list, they crowded out other teachers, often that had years of experience as temp teachers. Than everything was blocked because of slowed turnover and pressure from teacher’s unions, because people that had spend years as temp teachers had the “right” to become full time teachers, and fuck students.

35 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

They hired Justin Trudeau.

36 Art Deco March 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

News flash. Teacher training and recruitment procedures has nothing to do with hiring capable teachers. Who’s said that before?

37 Edward March 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

Florida is giving bonuses for teachers that have good SATs. The Florida Education Association has filed a complaint with the EEOC accusing the practice of being discriminatory. Teacher certification exams have also been found to be discriminatory. So this GPA suggestion won’t go anywhere meaningful.

“The bonus program also discriminates against African-American and Hispanic teachers by using the SAT and ACT as qualifiers. It has been well-established in the courts and peer-reviewed scholarship that the SAT and ACT are a racially and culturally biased tests that disparately impact test-takers on the basis of African-American and Hispanic race.”

38 Asher March 8, 2016 at 9:56 am

What’s the Hispanic race? Aren’t people from Spain and Portugal Europeans?

39 bob March 8, 2016 at 9:57 am

“racially and culturally biased tests”

What does this mean exactly? It is obliquely referring to desperate impact due to the IQ distributions or are there legitimate grievances here I am missing.

40 Daniel Weber March 8, 2016 at 10:45 am

The sentence is pretty straightforward. They claim the SAT and ACT are racially biased, because white people score better than black people.

41 bob March 8, 2016 at 11:14 am

Under that bizarre theory- the SAT and ACT are racially and culturally biased, because asian people score better than white people

42 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 11:32 am

For example, there can be cultural bias in the ways that things are grouped together for questions like “which of these four is the odd one out”. It might seem rather obvious if you have the time to wade through the introduction to Foucault’s “Archaeology of Knowledge”:

Also, there can be cultural bias in the abstract visual thinking, where some cultures may tend to group together certain things differently (I’ve seen a concrete example of this, but I don’t remember the source).

As for mathematical and logical stuff, most of the questions basically flow directly from things you learn in maths in school, so education quality and learning effort both important. Finally, I’m inclined to think that a culture which places less emphasis on academic achievement will have many members who, also after having not tried hard in school and thus not accumulated many intellectual tools, will also plain and simply not try on the test, which they may assume to have no bearing on anything relevant to them.

And, for word stuff, it seems quite obvious that there will be an advantage to those who are brought up by parents who belong to the dominant culture, for the fact of them using words according to the traditional and accepted meanings, rather than having a different scope of meaning being manifest in different cultural groups (never mind the more obvious disadvantage of have non-English speaking parents, or parents who primarily communicate in some form of patois or “eubonics”, but then being evaluated in English).

43 bob March 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm

That doesn’t make a test “culturally biased” or racist. It suggests that some cultures teach traits that are highly dysfunctional and ill-quipped for the modern world.

And it seems distance or lack of similarity with the dominant culture makes little difference- at least when we consider groups like Nigerians (radically different culture), Indian and many asian groups (also radically different) significantly outperform both their relative share of the population and the white population on these tests. Are we really suggesting that complete foreigners are picking up more of the “dominant” culture than a AA in an average American city?

44 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 1:50 pm

“Dysfunctional” seems rather offensive, but it suffices to say that a culture which does not prioritize academic learning will struggle in an economy where many sequential barriers to success are essentially academic.

On the matter of how Nigerians or various Asians perform, do not forget to consider that these are basically always from very upper class or even elite families, who have provided them with the best of education, and tend to ensure the same for their children. It is not a good comparison group.

45 Cliff March 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

“Asians… are basically always from very upper class or even elite families, who have provided them with the best of education”


46 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 9:41 pm

Cliff – I’m talking about immigrants, not the people who came 100 years ago (with the same family values and education ethic). Do you know how much it costs to fly to America, let alone have a stockpile of cash for the transition? Average wages in China are what? And never mind that you can’t get a passport to get out of the country unless you’re connected, until relatively recently.

Asian peasants and factory workers are not immigrating to America, for example, and are not qualifying for university positions which allow them to later pursue a road to citizenship.

47 Jim March 8, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Sub-Saharan Africans have lagged culturally behind Eurasians since the Mousterian. The relative ranking of racial/ethnic groups in economic success and educational achievement is is virtually the same all over the world where the different groups are found. The brain size of Sub-Saharan Africans averages about 95% of Europeans and Northeast Asians’ brain size averages about 102% of Europeans.

Ashkenazi Jews in the US score about 2/3-3/4 standard deviations in IQ above non-Jewish whites and have substantially higher levels of educational achievement and SES despite trivial environmental differences.

The complex and highly random process of evolution has zero probability of producing equalitarian outcomes. Differences in average cognitive level between different populations are no more surprising than differences in average height or type of ear wax.

48 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Africa was separated from Eurasia, where a lot of technological and cultural/political advances were transmitted easily across east/west lines, whereas the Saharan desert prevented such transmission. My understanding is that Ashkenazis highly prioritize forms of learning which are highly amenable to contributing to high academic performance (aka, on the surface the environmental difference might look trivial, but in fact it is not). I’m not closed to the idea that there may be differences between groups, but in the present of cultural differences I don’t see why we should presume anything remotely conclusive.

On your last note, It would be surprising indeed if highly complex things like intelligence were to differ to any such degree as things which are easily explained by a handful of simple environmental pressures and a very small number of genes.

49 Jim March 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Behavioral genetic studies show little impact of shared environment. This finding undermines traditional explanations in terms of cultural factors. The extraordinary record of of Ashkenazi Jews in high cultural achievements (proportion of Nobel Prizes or Fields Medals received) is due to genes not to eating gefilte fish or wearing funny skullcaps.

50 Cliff March 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

“It would be surprising indeed if highly complex things like intelligence were to differ to any such degree as things which are easily explained by a handful of simple environmental pressures and a very small number of genes”

Isn’t height a complex thing explained by a combination of thousands of genes? Aren’t many other traits that differ between the “races”?

51 Jim March 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

The game of chess played no role in traditional European Jewish culture. But after Jews began taking up the game in the latter part of the 19th century they quickly rose to domainance. About 50% of the best chess players since that time have been Ashkenazi Jews. Chess playing was not encouraged by Jewish culture. When the great Akiba Rubinstein began playing chess as a young man his rabbi severly chastised him for neglecting his studies of the Torah to study chess which in no way was part of traditional Jewish culture.

52 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Jim – Gefilte fish and skullcaps presumably don’t help much, but a culture which is dedicated to academic learning might. However, I’m inclined to see naturally high measures of certain types of bookish intelligence among Ashkenazi as consistent with their culture – debate and study of the Talmud are/were very important, and being a very small population group but which is nevertheless VERY clannish, all it takes is that less bookishly smart individuals are by various means pushed into the broader population over time, and the individuals who remain within the community will, on average, have high bookish intelligence.

Cliff – HGH is a single genetic output which can explain major differences in height. “Genes for human growth hormone, known as growth hormone 1 (somatotropin) and growth hormone 2, are localized in the q22-24 region of chromosome 17” I hope it is not lost on your that in discussing a “genetic effect” here, we’re actually talking about genes and their specific protein outputs, not statistics residuals or population averages of a given cultural group in a social sciences framework.

53 Jim March 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

Nathan – If less intelligent Ashkenazi were more likely to leave the Ashkenazi community and assimilate into the gentile population then this would increase the frequency of intelligence promoting genes in the Ashkenazi population relative to the gentile population. You seem to be saying that there was greater selection for intelligence in the Ashkenazi population compared to the gentile population. No doubt that was true.

One factor here is that the Ashkenazi population in European history was almost exclusively urban throughout it’s history. Urban environments have stronger selection for intelligence. The entire Ashkenazi population was subject to the selective forces of the urban environment. On the other hand before 1800 less than 10% of the European gentile population was urban. Even if the medieval Ashkenazi populations were no smarter than urban gentiles they would have been substantially smarter than the general gentile population which consisted at least 90% of peasents and serfs.

54 Iodized March 8, 2016 at 10:25 am

“Our primary measure of job performance combines the IMPACT components using weights determined by a factor analysis of the sub-scores: classroom observation, individual value-added (if available), the teacher-assessed student achievement (if available), commitment to school community, and core professionalism.” (p.28)

Nothing like objective science.

55 rayward March 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

Race permeates everything in American society, but most egregiously in the way we treat children. It was that way in the beginning of our nation, it was that way when I attended segregated schools in the 1950s and 1960s, and it’s that way today. As schools were integrated, white children moved to either private schools (including so-called “Christian schools”) or school districts that are mostly white (accommodated by the Supreme Court ruing that school district lines can’t be crossed), as the black neighborhoods and predominantly black school districts languished in increasing poverty, blight, and despair. Even school districts that are integrated have two schools operating side by side, the AP side with mostly white children and the low performing side with mostly black children. Public schools are the step-child of our education system, deprived of adequate funding, constantly criticized, and a battleground for the war against unions, the racial context of the criticism barely hidden if at all. In my low country home, the contrast between the extreme wealth of the island resort community and the extreme poverty of the mainland black community a few miles away is shocking, but not for those with “cottages” on the island who come and go by private jet and never come close to the mainland black community. Such is America today, separated not only by race but by class. Invisible Man, the short novel written by by Ralph Ellison in 1952, is as accurate today as in 1952. America’s race problem is America’s curse and its shame.

56 bob March 8, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Sounds like a tumblr copypasta.

57 rayward March 8, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Establishment Republicans are opposed to Trump, not because his policies aren’t conventional Republican policies (indeed, they are more aligned with Republican establishment policies than the other candidates, including even larger tax cuts for the wealthy, repeal of Obamacare without even the pretense of a substitute, cuts in regulation, and attacks on unions), but because he doesn’t even pretend that he isn’t appealing to voters’ racism and xenophobia; and in doing so Trump will expose the disconnect between actual Republican policies and the policies that are preferred by the typical Republican voter the party has courted the past 40 plus years. What the Republican establishment wants are Trump’s policies but packaged in a nice smile and agreeable manner, someone like Jeb or Rubio. What the Republican establishment fears is that the Southern Strategy that has worked so well will be the party’s undoing.

58 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

rayward, your anecdotal experience isn’t data.

59 rayward March 8, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I support public schools and measures designed to improve them, including hiring better teaches (such as the adoption of the measures in this study to identify the better teachers before they are hired): it’s easier to hire potentially better teachers than to fire what turn out to be bad teachers already hired. Which brings me to my point: the Every Student Succeeds Act, which became effective near the end of last year, replaces teacher evaluations as the best method for improving teachers and replaces it with a broader system of measures designed not so much to identify bad teachers but to improve them. Studies like this one complement the new Act by putting the emphasis on hiring (better teachers) rather than firing (bad teachers).

60 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm

“Studies like this one complement the new Act by putting the emphasis on hiring (better teachers) rather than firing (bad teachers).”

It’s relatively easy to reliably determine bad teachers and it’s relatively hard to determine teachers that will be good. So firing bad teachers is the best approach if your top priority is education.

61 Nathan W March 9, 2016 at 4:47 am

I wonder what unions would demand in exchange for a quota to fire 0.2-0.5% of teachers annually for poor performance. Perhaps these fired teachers could be offered preferential access to janitorial positions, which often pay in the same range as teachers, or perhaps cafeteria jobs, while still respecting their job security?

The question still remains as to how to determine which teachers are worst. They could try a “Big Brother” sort of vote-off framework, where each teacher votes one colleague which they think should be fired, as the first criteria, and then use more standardized evaluation mechanisms to filter through the worst of the group across a school board.

62 A B March 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Yet another example of how Systems Evolve to act in ways opposed to the purpose for which they were initially created. About once a year, I recommend the short, funny, book Systemantics by John Gall for edification on this and other properties of human systems.

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