Why does Minneapolis have such extreme educational disparities?

A correspondent writes me:

I live in Minneapolis and have worked in education policy here for a few years. With all of the unrest going on here, I feel increasing urgency to learn more about a question that’s been puzzling me for many years, and which I can’t seem to find a satisfactory answer to: why is Minnesota one of the worst states in the nation for disparities between black and white students, both in education and other outcomes such as employment and income?

Of course, most of my liberal colleagues and friends will say something like, “structural racism”, which isn’t really an explanation. That doesn’t explain why we to do so poorly in disparities, when other somewhat similar states such as Michigan and Illinois do better than us in their educational disparities.

All of this makes me think – there must be a study of disparities among minority or historically marginalized groups that looks across countries and cultural contexts, to try and understand what specifically causes students from those communities to perform poorly in school. And surely there must be cases where poor minority groups perform better in school than would be expected.

Do you have any suggestions for reading that could start me on the path to figuring this out?

The comments section is open, please leave your thoughtful suggestions there.  And read this for general background on the economic side, and this.


One initial thought is they have pretty substantial immigrant population from poorer areas of africa I believe? So part of this could be due to a more disadvantaged somali immigrants bringing down some african american scores (compounded by learning new language, adjusting to new culture etc). I would have to think there are studies into this, but wanted to point out an obvious thing that came to my mind first

quick look showed that somali immigrants could be about 15-20% of black minnesotans, so definitely would be curious if there scores are same, worse , or better than the other black minnesotans

Here is one report supporting this. Hope this helps tyler!


Read that report. Fascinating. But, it's filled with a lot of built-in biases that are glaring. It's understandable, as the opening pages make it clear the organization in equity-based (as opposed to equality-based) and that's usually a red-flag. However, I still found it insightful and thoughtful about various mainstreaming challenges Somalis have faced in the MN school districts.

One note, they need to hire a copy-editor, many, many typos. And I only wished it was OCR, or the original report, because you could not search it.

All in all, glad I read it.

I haven’t gotten the impression that Somalis are particularly poor “performers.” The parents are generally satisfied for being in America and having a job. The first generation kids straddle two cultures and have many parochial concerns that might distract them from top academic performance (like helping dad at the restaurant or gas station). They’re still good kids, and hopefully any disparity narrows over time with subsequent generations.

This seems likely to to be the answer. The black population in Minnesota is composed of approximately 25% 1st generation refuges. From the literature it seems clear that it requires multiples generations for performance to converge.

It seems that counter to the allegations in the linked media reports there isn't anything nefarious going on.

Somalis account for 17% of Minnesota's black population. Over 1/3 have been born in the United States. NB, about 46% of the ethnic Somalis in the U.S. are juveniles, and it's a reasonable wager your Somali schoolchildren are not, by and large, '1st generation refugees'.

I have two kids and had two high school exchange students in Saint Paul MN. I would respectfully suggest you check the data before you conclude that immigrant kids are doing worse than descendants of slaves.

We sent our two girls through St. Paul public schools. My experience was that many Somali kids, girls in particular, were very strong academically. Somalis were very well represented at the state level Science Fair for example. I found them to be very respectful and motivated students.

Yes. those children, born after 2002, contribute greatly to the current measured economic outcomes.

I read in a reliable newspaper that Minnesota was selected by the State Department as a place for Somali refugees because of its high quality social service infrastructure. As a resident of suburban Minneapolis, I meet Somalis in many low paying service jobs. Almost all cab drivers are Somalis and they seemed to have taken Uber and Lyft jobs. They are uniformly competent. The change in the mix of African American jobs caused by the Somali immigration could account for some of the wide disparity of white/black incomes in the area.

I grew up not far from the area of the riots. In the 50's, Lake Street was a honky tonk, low end retail district on the northern border of the prosperous south side. I've noticed in recent years it has become more prosperous with new buildings and solid franchise operations like Walgreen's and McDonald's blending in with established businesses like Minnehaha Liquors. All that seems to have been torched. The residential area was diverse and gaining ground. Very sad.

I can echo this ("uniformly competent"), at least as long as I can huddle in Somalis with Eritreans (both Chushitic, both very poor countries) as well as Minnesota with Germany (both many people of German descent).

The Politico article: "Minnesota may be paying for its own success; its consistently thriving economy has drawn thousands of blacks and migrants of color from other states and countries"

In-migration generally, not just from Somalis, can create somewhat misleading statistics. The migrants gain from migrating, are better off than they would have been if they hadn't migrated, but are worse off than the natives benefiting from the thriving economy. The result is that everyone is better off than they would have been without migration, but statistical disparities increase and the average income could even drop.

The Catholics à la Jaffre-LOT managed to open the churches for Pentecost in France. Who even talks of a substantial population in France - Arabs are the Blacks chez nous. This Hindu Jaffre-LOT deserves to be lynched in France. Is Le Pen still alive?

The King will save him. Dead saving the dead!

We celebrated Eid without the mosques being open in France. But the churches - they are different - catholic power !


If education and pedagogy were all that mattered, we'd just put Harvard in charge of education. We'd vote for a Democrat city administration and start the Harvard-Minneapolis campus, the Harvard Pre-School. The Harvard Preparatory Academy Marching Trojans. Let a thousand Harvards bloom.

Of course, back here in reality Harvard applies a stringent application process knowing full well that not all students are created equal.

Um... Harvard's process isn't measuring your 'creation', it is measuring your accomplishments.

Read a book.

Harvard is measuring whether your Asian-American.

Or whether "your" capable of spelling.

Yes, there is a wide difference in intelligence among humans but you can't measure the intelligence of an individual by his ethnic background. There are intelligent Africans just as there are stupid Norwegians.

I do not reject genes as an explanation but it would not be the first thing I would assume either.

The original marshmallow test did show a racial difference. But it also showed the effects of divorce - the low-patience students were more likely to be from one particular ethnic group, but their parents were also more likely to be divorced.

It is possible that boys raised by single mothers find it hard to cope with school where they have to sit and are told to shut up by a female teacher who is teaching them useless stuff and regularly humiliating them. They would benefit from a more structured male-dominated society. And indeed Black students do better with male Black teachers.

While we're fielding data, do you have any good material supporting that? Much appreciated in advance. I was going to comment on the genetic confound, but your comment cuts against that.

I think we could definitely get better metrics from black children with less single motherhood.

Does the "so much for subtlety" also apply to your misogyny? You somehow decide to shit on both mothers raising children alone because the father walked out, and teachers working in some of the most difficult classroom situations in the country.

Maybe if "women's work" were valued more, we'd have more male teachers, which BTW I agree would be a good thing and would provide good role models for boys, especially those whose own fathers have deserted them.


Why are you so hostile and taking things as being 'shit' on?

"told to shut up by a female teacher who is teaching them useless stuff and regularly humiliating them"

Yeah, totally not an inflammatory or insulting way to characterise women in a work environment that's infinitely more challenging than the offices the techbro heroes work in.

Very well said. Piketty and all these Frenchies like Duflo pay heed. Who even talks of Les Juifs?

Why not talk of inequality chez nous - but it's not just amongst the whites in France - try to bring in a substantial black & arab population - rather than pretending to be cosmopolitan and talk about some other country without any clue of it.

"Metropolitics," by Myron Orfield, maps disparities in public spending - on education, infrastructure, etc. - in Minneapolis and several other cities. The book is probably 20 years old by now (but still available); I remember thinking, uh oh, Minneapolis is headed for trouble.

They're not doing as well?

How are they doing compared to other Somalians that stayed in Somalia? Amazingly I'd wager.

Thomas Sowell at the Hoover Institution has studied the causes of poverty his whole career. He has shown that LBJ's Great Society welfare system made it much worse, especially for blacks. It's their attitude of entitlement that guarantees they will fail. The best thing we can do for them is to abolish that system.

Or: the best thing we can do for everyone concerned is to abolish the enormous pedagogical fraud known in the US as "public education", a manifest failure in the decades since all manner of socio-political grievances (and correspondingly little in the way of "pedagogical cogency") have been heaped upon the already-dysfunctional "system".

Promote multi-culturalism: abolish public education.

Sowell was my first thought, but I doubt Tyler's not all over that already.

...ponderous government public school bureaucracies have a guaranteed income and little incentive to effjcjently produce quality education, especially to minorities with sparse political power.
the storry is the same most big American cities... with abysmal verbal & math scores for minorities.

Public schools are supposed to help the poor & disadvantaged students the most -- but their near monopoly on K-12 schooling delivers exactly what economic monopolies deliver --- high prices & poor quality.

Biden has pledged to do away with charter schools. I'd be curious to know whether that's what black parents actually want. Revealed preferences suggest otherwise.

Whatever you think about this explanation in general, I don't think it works to explain why Minneapolis is worse. The public schools here have a lot of problems, but have generally had a reputation for being pretty good relative to public schools in other large American cities. And, Minnesota was an early innovator in charter schools.

As someone who was born and raised in St Paul in the 60s and 70s, I can state for a fact that well into the 70s that the Twin Cities had almost no blacks. As late as 1970, even the city of Minneapolis was about 4% black. The suburbs were very close to 0% black. The black population in the Twin Cities does therefore consist of Somali refugees and "refugees " from Chicago and other large cities. There is not and never had been a significant black professional and executive class. I have friends in large Minneapolis businesses who tell me that for decades it has been almost impossible to recruit black executives to Minneapolis. Black executives and proves tell recruiters that they do not want to be the only black person in the neighborhood. The blacks coming into Minneapolis in the last 40 years have largely been just like George Floyd, who was lower income. The black population this stands in stark contrast to the white population, which has very high incomes and levels of education. I think you would see the same issues in Sweden, for the same reasons

"The black population in the Twin Cities does therefore consist of Somali refugees...I think you would see the same issues in Sweden, for the same reasons"

+1. That is a better comparison than African-Americans in Detroit or Chicago as far as determining why there are disparities. Combine those disparities with American law enforcement policy and it's not pretty. I wonder how a bunch of Italian or Ukrainian immigrants would do in a culture that manages to be as rule following as Scandinavia and as cop-trigger-happy as the US. Probably not much better than the Somalis, honestly.

Ukrainians? Ukrainians who emigrate to high trust, rule abiding societies tend to assimilate very quickly. Much like Poles or Balts. Ukraine was also one of the more prosperous better organized regions of the USSR. This suggests that Ukraine’s chronic failure to thrive since independence may have more to do with outside interference than native culture.

There's been a substantial black population in St. Paul for almost all of the 20th century. Like many other midwestern cities, the Minneapolis black ghetto didn't appear until after WWII. Minneapolis, a much more Scandinavian city, has a somewhat different culture than St. Paul. The capital city is often thought of as the western-most eastern city and Minneapolis described as the eastern-most western one. St. Paul is more Catholic, Minneapolis more Lutheran. The stoic, distant Scandinavian personality seems to typify the west side of the river, the east side has a greater Irish, French, Mexican and Italian influence. Catholic immigrants from the German Sudetenland were a major factor in the late 19th century. The Somalis have been introduced to Minneapolis by the Lutheran church. If they have a problem it's that they fail to recognize that they're supposed to consider themselves inferior to the local whites and act subservient.

Chuck is correctly describing the St Paul I lived in for more than 20 years.

It is a while since I checked, but while there has been a white-black disparity, that has resulted from higher white scores (compared to other states), not lower black scores.

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once put it, the best predictor of high math scores in the US is proximity to the Canadian border.

But it's nowhere near true today, not with all the Sunbelt migration since his day

...before WWII?

They lived in the Rondo neighborhood about equidistant between the two downtowns. The neighborhood was bisected (north and south) when Interstate 94 was built. That grievance still rankles.

Alex & Tyler, This blog is a joke & we are all jokers. Signed - Tedros - This is not a joke.

Actually, the President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve and a black State Supreme Court Justice wrote a report about this, and recommended a state constitutional amendment correcting financial and other public funding disparities.

But, before you read that, read their observations, noting how income plays a role:

Specifically, the report documents the crisis:

"Minnesota has some of the largest gaps in the nation on outcome measures by race and socioeconomic status.
Our educational disparities are not confined to race; low-income white students significantly trail higher-income white students across Minnesota.
Disparities span all parts of the state and all types of schools, whether district or charter schools. This is not just a metro issue or a traditional public school issue.
Achievement gaps are evident across a variety of measures, including standardized test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness indicators.
Racial and income gaps in standardized test scores and college readiness have increased over time, while gaps in graduation rates have decreased.
Minnesota is graduating an increasing proportion of students who are unprepared for college."


Other recommendations include fostering early childhood education, which the Mpls Federal Reserve has also extensively studied.

Here is the study, Note the research on income and its effect:


Here is some of the Mpls Federal Reserve work on supporting early childhood education and its cost/benefit: https://www.minneapolisfed.org/topic/early-childhood-development

I thought there was enough studies on Head Start and the like to put a rest to the early education claims.

Class/SES is biologically hereditary, and the less discriminatory a society becomes the more this bubbles to the surface as the only remaining cause. Section 3 of Charles Murray's new book, which Tyler never got around to doing a complete review of after his initial impressions post.

Your burden of proof on biological/heriditary. Post your evidence below.

In 'The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility' Gregory Clark explains that while it has been argued that rigid class structures have eroded in favor of greater social equality, his research proves that movement on the social ladder has changed little over eight centuries.

That is not proof of biology/heredity.

Try again to answer the question and provide proof.

That is not proof of biology/heredity.

Oh really? The products of ten thousand years of our animal husbandry are all around us, yet you can't conceive that humans are subject to the same biological laws. Do wolves and golden retrievers have the same appearance and personality? Who are more likely to loot commercial establishments, the Japanese or the Bantu of South Africa? And why?

Truly, to see what is in front of your nose is a constant struggle.

I can see that, perhaps based on the comment and support for it, some people may not have evolved in their higher level thinking, so you may have proved your point without even having to offer any data.

My response is above, but I screwed up the embedding level.

My original comment referenced Charles Murray's new book. There are three sections, gender, race, and class. The third section, class, is where he presents the evidence that SES is partly biologically heritable.

Fully half the book is end notes and references. He's quite generous in giving space to opposing views and evidence, at least in the notes. He's done the hard work in tracking down the journal articles, especially recent meta studies, so whatever you think of him, the book is a big time saver for anyone interested in the questions dealt with, whatever your views.

"Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class"

Here are the propositions he makes regarding class:

-- The shared environment usually plays a minor role in explaining personality, abilities, and social behavior.

-- Class structure is importantly based on differences in abilities that have a substantial genetic component.

-- Outside interventions are inherently constrained in the effects they can have on personality, abilities, and social abilities.

The text of the book is a somewhat detailed, tedious recitation of the peer reviewed research pertaining to each proposition.

1) Rhetorical question: Why is a federal reserve bank wasting resources on producing studies like this?
2) Speaking of bureaucracies and regulatory capture, the first two "common themes" of successful schools are greater autonomy and greater flexibility in hiring/retention of teachers tied to a focus on improving teacher quality. Why aren't the people now complaining about police unions likewise complaining about teachers' unions?
3) "Support services" for families are helpful (and expensive) perhaps because those families are more dysfunctional, which is what drives poverty? I didn't see any charts on single-parent households.

Human capital is just as important as bank capital and equipment. That's why the Fed Reserve paper. They also have done a great deal of work, which is recognized nationally, on the effect of early childhood development on future income and earnings.

>public funding disparities

Minnesota did equalize educational funding in the early 70's... essentially transferring funding from local governments to the State.

Alternate queries:

what explains our cognitive elites' quixotic persistence with their dubious faith in "egalitarianism" and their sponsored rumors of "equality" in human relations? (what, for that matter, explains our cognitive elites' mangling of the "American public education system" so that it has become our preferred system for purveying rote ignorance?)

So many mythic aspects of contemporary existence are leaking out these days, it's getting hard to tell which contemporary myth is the most odious: is it the untethered idealism of dreamy "egalitarianism"? could it be the proffered lies concerning "education"? would it be perhaps an untenable faith in asserted "progress"? could contemporary forms of "philanthropy" qualify? --all of the above?

To really stick I think education needs to be re-enforced by your environment, meaning you need to be able to integrate the lessons with things you experience in everyday life. This might make things especially difficult for a minority in a public education system. If they are being educated by teachers who don't know how to relate the material to their own life experiences, and the material itself uses examples they would find unfamiliar, and there is no feedback loop between the education system and the home, it would be a surprise if things did go well.

I was thinking along similar lines. What's the incentive to higher education or investing in human capital?

You know that show Suits, where they only hire Harvard Law grads? This show seems like an extreme example, but it seems that this type of approach to hiring people has some wider truth in the US. I'm thinking that in a city where people are routinely harassed or shot by the police, they're probably not getting an even shot at a job interview. So why bother learning skills that aren't going to pay off?

I'm thinking that in a city where people are routinely harassed or shot by the police

Are Black people being routinely harassed or shot by the police because they are victimizing Whites?

In 2018 the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its survey of criminal victimization. According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks.

Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent. That ratio is becoming more skewed, despite the Democratic claim of Trump-inspired white violence. In 2012-13, blacks committed 85 percent of all interracial victimizations between blacks and whites; whites committed 15 percent. From 2015 to 2018, the total number of white victims and the incidence of white victimization have grown as well.



I understand the argument here - but suppose you're right, and that let's say for arguments sake that there's only a portion of the black population who are trying to work hard and get an honest job. (And I'm putting all morality and judgement aside here on the truth of that statement which feels extremely loaded, but let's work with this anyway.) The honest and hardworking people get judged by perception of the group as a whole, exactly the same way as this statement implies. So even if this statement is true, it doesn't invalidate the argument that there's a reduced incentive to invest in human capital or higher education if you're not going to get a return on that in a job market. People need an incentive at the margin.

It feels like there's maybe a signalling solution here but I don't know what it is. Maybe that already happens in different ways.

....Wow, your implicit assumptions don't paint you favorably.

The reasonable starting assumption is that the vast majority of ANY group of people are hard, honest workers. You flipped that on its end, I'm not sure we will agree here.

Just heard about a study that claimed that black boys in particular do much better when they have black teachers. Maybe Minneapolis has very few black educators?

I guess I'm also specifically comparing to the Jewish experience. The Jews are a minority and yet in general are highly educated with high income. Why? They have the Torah and the Synagogue. They have their own secondary education system that is instilled at home with relevant examples tied to their culture (which goes back thousands of years). Creating something like that for other minority groups in my opinion is not as hard as it sounds, it would just be very tedious. Educational fables specific to minorities Minneapolis might not translate well to minorities in Savannah.

my initial thought was redlining vs white flight. any article on how 35W and 94's locations were designed to divide and segregate neighborhoods is probably a good start.

OTOH, there are super-regional government entities like the 'Met Counsel' that actively try to spread low income housing around.

What portion of Minneapolis residents are of Scandinavian descent?

Exactly. It's because whites of Scan descent achieve much more than whites of Scotch-Irish descent.

Goods are Scottish

Whisky is Scotch

People are Scots.

Tell that to Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Laughed out loud, you have my permission to distribute this joke

I would think that part of the explanation is that white people in Minneapolis are much more bourgeois than whites elsewhere in the US, to put it kindly. And maybe the blacks in Minneapolis are at best average compared to blacks elsewhere? My impression is that upwardly mobile black professionals want to live in places like DC and Atlanta, not anywhere in the North.

Except for Alan Page.


I would think that part of the explanation is that white people in Minneapolis are much more bourgeois than whites elsewhere in the US, to put it kindly.

Uh huh. The violent crime index value for Minnesota (8% black) is 220.4 per 100,000. That for Mississippi (37% black) is 234 per 100,000. I can think of a place where Amy Klobberherworkers and Garrison Keillor can learn some manners.

Are the disparities because whites in Minnesota are doing better than in other nearby states or because blacks are doing worse? Given that on average, Minnesota is a pretty high-income, high-education state, I’d guess most of the disparity is due to over-performance among whites rather than under-performance among blacks.

Good point. Did some research on Minnesota relative to other states: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/10/30/minnesota-act-scores-higher-than-national-average Still, disparity is an issue.

This line from the Washington Post article: "The median black family income in Minneapolis was $36,000 in 2018, according to Census Bureau data. Though that figure compares favorably with black families in many other U.S. metro areas, it is a far cry from the nearly $83,000 a typical white family in the city would earn."

It's worth noting that "family" might not be the same base unit. IIRC, blacks have a higher % of single parent families.

Minnesota is a pretty high-income, high-education state,

Per capita personal income in Minnesota is about 6% higher than the national mean. It's not exceptionally affluent. Alaska does as well. The Minneapolis commuter belt has personal income levels about 12% higher than the mean of all metropolitan commuter belts in the country. The New York - New Jersey belt, the Washington, DC belt, the San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose belt are all noticeably more affluent.

Minneapolis resident here with kids in Minneapolis public schools. Spouse is a person of color and above average household income.

One thing to keep in mind is the cost of living in Minneapolis is relatively low versus most other high income metros - median house is ~$250k. But we have the highest per capital number of publicly traded company HQs (Target, Best Buy, 3M, United Health, USBank, etc) so there is a professional class where many have worked In world class companies and can afford a very comfortable life.

This has not been yet case for most in the black community - My sense is the placement of the interstates mentioned in another comment and the redlining in the 1960s have set the metro area on a two track system.

We are going through a very contentious redistricting in the Minneapolis public schools meant to address this. The city is highly segregated where the Southwest is very wealthy and white and the Northside is predominantly people
of color and poor. The redistricting is meant to address disparities but lacks any concrete plan to actually do. One stat that the district presented is that 50% of the students in the Northside change schools every two years. That level of change is very difficult For children particularly when it is often combined with poverty and other challenges.

Contrast to the elementary school my children attended which has the average student accelerated by a full year in math. The parents are predominantly white and primarily professionals.

My view is that in large part we have at least three generations of disparities built up that are entrenched in the geography of the city and the metro area. The issues causing the disparities aren’t primarily about the schools but really do stem from historic racist policies and those impacts are felt over generations

Informative, +5 i.p.

+1, informative comment

Why assume that it is redlining rather than Great Society programs in the 60s that led to racial divides? I'm increasingly seeing redlining being given huge weight in explaining history, far beyond what it's likely to have caused.

Don't minorities generally do poorly in liberal states, and comparatively well in conservative states?

It's because conservative states have a low base, comparatively speaking. You could look good in Mississippi and look poor in NY. You want to look at statistics (ACT, graduation rates) as a measure across all states.

From what I just looked up, only 24 states and DC require all students to take the SAT or ACT.

Other states may require an exit exam or the PARRC.

So, how does Minnesota compare to those other states as to minority ACT and graduation rates.

Here is the data, WE Live,


The excerpts are posted under comments to Phinton below.

From the link:

"The center tracks high school graduation rates in all 50 states.

In Minnesota the graduation rate for black students is 65%.

That number puts Minnesota in dead last among all 50 states.

Minnesota’s black student graduation rate is a full 2-percentage points lower than the next lowest state, Wisconsin.

And for Hispanic students, the graduation rate in Minnesota is 66%, which is also the lowest in the nation.

Louisiana is the next lowest with 67%, but after that, no other state falls below 71%.

For context, the graduation rate for white students in Minnesota is 88%, which puts the state at 27th in the nation."


YOU DID EXACTLY what the fact checker said was misleading, and YOU FAILED to continue with the rest of the fact checkers statement as to the performance of minority students who graduate.

You aimed to deceive.

So, let me quote the remaining part that you hid from the readers:

"Without that context the statement isn’t accurate.
According to the Education Opportunity Monitoring Project, organized by a team of researchers at Stanford University, Minnesota does pretty well when it comes to test scores.
Researchers used nationwide test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and broke them down by state, race and ethnicity.
The research team found that Black 4th graders in Minnesota ranked 3rd in the nation for math and 16th for reading.
Black 8th graders ranked 30th for math and 24th for reading.
So, among younger students, Black students in Minnesota are nowhere near the bottom when it comes to test scores.
This research project only focuses on younger students.
To find out where Black high school students in Minnesota rank among other states we looked at SAT and ACT scores.
In 2018, Black students in Minnesota scored an average of 200 points higher on the SAT’s than black students nationwide.
And with the ACT, Black students in Minnesota typically score around 17, based on scores from the last five years, and that average is on par with Black students nationwide.
So, summing everything up, we can Verify its true, Minnesota schools are the worst in the nation when it comes to graduation rates for students of color."

JWatts, You conscientiously decided to withhold information, you consciously decided to omit the words of the verifier saying the statement of worse schools was not accurate.

Anyone reading what you post should take into account what JWatts omits and doesn't tell you.


By the way JW, I knew what the facts were when I asked the question and that's why I asked it, and waited for someone like you to fall into the trap. i didn't expect you though to hide from the reader what the verifier said: "Without that context, the statement isn't accurate." Shame on you.

"You aimed to deceive."

I posted a paragraph from your own link Bill. I didn't even provide commentary, and I certainly didn't cherry pick the data.

"JWatts, You conscientiously decided to withhold information, ... JWatts omits and doesn't tell you. ... and waited for someone like you to fall into the trap. "

Fuck off Bill, you are just being a dick. I posted the data from the post. The data is accurate. Now you are whining because I didn't post the opinion from the author that you determine to be correct.

You are just a self involved twit that tries repeated motive assassination on people you don't agree with.

Anyone can read what you deliberately excised, particularly when the fact verifier asserted that the claim was not accurate.

I am happy to treat you as an adult. And, if you are embarrassed by the disclosure that you misled, I am sorry for you.

I am sorry I used the word deceive, but, sometimes you cannot find the write word to convey the facts. Sorry for the hyperbole, but you need to be more careful, understand that when I ask a question I may already have facts, and be careful with your statement if they are not supported by facts and links.

"Anyone can read what you deliberately excised, "

That's an outright lie! I didn't excise anything and you are lying when you say that I did. At this point, you are just sling false accusations to prop up your narrative.

Just to be clear here, and put things into context the article says:

Are Minnesota schools the worst in the nation for students of color?

Yes, but the question needs more context.
It depends on how you define “the worst in the nation.”

I wasn't even attempting to make the case that Minnesota schools are the worst in the nation, I was just posting the actual data National Center for Education Statistics. Which do indicate that Minnesota is doing poorly with respect to minority education.

The data you were quoting was on graduation rates and not achievement. People can read the entire article and look at the 4th and 8th grade levels and the ACT test score comparisons. I quote them above and I provide the link to the complete article.

Lol this old Hail Mary of bull shit. We went over this during the teacher union chimp out in Wisconsin. Every single race performs better in Texas than they do in Wisconsin.

Steve Sailer has already written about which cities tend to have the largest racial disparities in education. You won't be surprised to know liberal cities tend to have larger gaps than more conservative areas, but it's worth asking why.

Low base comparison. How do they rate for ACT and graduation. Disparity is a relative term, not an absolute.

Post conservative cities ACT and graduation rate against other cities below.

How do "extreme educational disparities" in Minneapolis among Somali immigrants compare with "educational outcomes" among Somali immigrants who settled instead in Canada? (--and where in Canada: anglophone or francophone "disparities" worth citing?)

How does the Somali diaspora not in the US or Canada fare in terms of education? (Any "extreme educational disparities" to be cited within Somalia itself?)

Any evidence or just a claim or question?

Also, since Somalis live elsewhere in the US, any comparison between their achievement in other parts of the US.

Post evidence below.

In this thread Bill struggles to learn what a question is


You can't answer the question. Edward compared Somali Canadians to Minneapolis Somalis, but did not compare their performance in other states of the US.

People reading your comment understand the question I posed and why I posed it. And they also understand your lack of response. People aren't as "struggling" as you claim they are. Maybe you are, though.

Tyler, the liberal state has failed Minnesotans. It seems that the DFL party's control of the city's public housing and public education is behind the failure to deliver the party's promises. A lot of money wasted.

1 -- the work of Myron Orfield, a law professor UMinn and director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunities (https://www.law.umn.edu/institute-metropolitan-opportunity ) as well as criticism of his work in this article (suggested by Tyler)
Note: Orfield was a DFL state legislator and has been very much involved in efforts to reform public housing and education.

2 -- the work of the Fed Minneapolis as suggested by reader Bill, including the initiative to amend the state's constitution to guarantee a quality public education to all children (a joint effort between the Fed's president and Alan Page, retired from the state's Supreme Court Justice but more important a Hall of Fame, former Vikings player, one of the Purple People Eaters of 1969).

I think you are reading this the wrong way.

Ask yourself: What would a conservative state governor, like Oklahoma, offered that would be better. Or, perhaps Alabama, or Missisippi, or Georgia, or South Carolina. Compare the educational attainment levels for each and report back.

Hmm. Maybe there is something to this colder/warmer climate argument.

Germans vs. Greeks come to mind.

Conservative governors and mayors are not hypocrites because they don't promise to spend money to solve poor's people housing and education problems. If they promised to solve other problems by spending money and then they wasted it, then you could accuse them of being hypocrites to the potential beneficiaries of their promises. To a large extent, most politicians are hypocrites because they do something but fail to deliver as promised. Why do they fail? Incompetence or corruption?

So, they do nothing. So, what are their results and how do they compare to other states.

Post results below and comparisons to other states.

The best place to raise a black child, all things considered, is....Utah.


Black mormons? I am glad that Utah, you claim, is doing a good job.

loves you despite being an out-of-touch coastal elite.

the initiative to amend the state's constitution to guarantee a quality public education to all children

Sure. And why not amend the state's constitution to guarantee that all students have healthy relationships. Or that they all have a fulfilling life. Alas, we don't know how to do any of those things.

The upshot will probably just be spending more and employing more people in the "helping professions".

"spending more and employing more people in the "helping professions".

At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. The poor receive about 40% of the funds directed to the poor. The rest is 'administration'.

Such disparities!

If I didn't know better, it is as if a century of progressive politics didn't quite work out as planned.

Again, what is the base rate from which you make a comparison. In a high educational attainment state a disparity may still put the same group at a higher rate than a state with a lower base rate. Disparity matters, but so does the base rate.

Post comparison of minority ACT and graduation rate between states if you want to prove a point.

Post below.

See my link above. Your assertion is flat out wrong. You are far better off being a black child in Hawaii, Utah, Alaska or New Hampshire than any other state in the nation. They all have something in common that the article explores.

So, 4 states prove your point? There should be more states if that is a provable assertion. I forgot, how many other states do we have. Do you have to be a black Mormon in Utah?

By the way, you did not post data showing ACT or graduation rates, or provide a data link.

You may take things on faith, but I don't. Prove your point with data. And, if it is 4 states, that means others are well below.

You can read the report I linked to. They looked at the full life cycle, from birth weight, to fourth graders who scored at or above 'proficient' on read, 8th graders same for math, young adults who delay child bearing until adult hood, % that graduate high school, 25 year olds that hold a associates degree or better, etc, and much more. They take all those measures and compare for the various groups and various states. And the summary says 4 states do a really good job here: Hawaii, Alaska, Utah and New Hampshire.

Places like Boston do really well for white kids, but very poorly for non-white kids. Minnesota not so good.

The data is pretty easy to digest. Let me know if any of it gives you trouble and I'll try and break it down further. Just remember: Higher score is better.

I read it. But, you still did not answer the question, nor did you provide the graduation and ACT data. The four states -- so what, we are talking about comparisons to Minnesota.

Can I help you read my question. You did a diversion. If you need help reading the question, as you would say snarkly, I can help.

The point is that you did not provide the data. The point is you have no comparables to other states.

The reason you didn't do it is because you don't know and are ashamed to admit it.

"The reason you didn't do it is because you don't know and are ashamed to admit it."

-2, motive assassination without any proof, so it's just a basic ad hominem attack

Good point.

What I should have said: He didn't offer the evidence. And, that speaks for itself. And, because he didn't offer evidence, he should be ashamed for making assertions he can't support.
How's that.

OK, Phinton, I had the data all along and was waiting for you to screw up again. And, you came through because you did not do any research.

So, here is the testing data:

"According to the Education Opportunity Monitoring Project, organized by a team of researchers at Stanford University, Minnesota does pretty well when it comes to test scores.
Researchers used nationwide test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and broke them down by state, race and ethnicity.
The research team found that Black 4th graders in Minnesota ranked 3rd in the nation for math and 16th for reading.
Black 8th graders ranked 30th for math and 24th for reading.
So, among younger students, Black students in Minnesota are nowhere near the bottom when it comes to test scores.
This research project only focuses on younger students.
To find out where Black high school students in Minnesota rank among other states we looked at SAT and ACT scores.
In 2018, Black students in Minnesota scored an average of 200 points higher on the SAT’s than black students nationwide.
And with the ACT, Black students in Minnesota typically score around 17, based on scores from the last five years, and that average is on par with Black students nationwide."

Minneapolis does have a higher drop out rate, however.

Since you have no data, let me provide the link: https://www.kare11.com/article/news/verify/verify-are-minnesota-schools-worst-in-nation-for-students-of-color/89-aff38b41-5412-4967-9bca-967d1b3cf987

"The research team found that Black 4th graders in Minnesota ranked 3rd in the nation for math and 16th for reading.

Black 8th graders ranked 30th for math and 24th for reading."

Seems like it get worse as it goes along. Kind of odd. Your ACT score quote makes sense as they've already rid themselves, more than any other state, of the low performers.

This seem to imply that Minnesota schools kick out the low performing blacks (and probably other races too) and yet still their ACT scores are about average.

Possibly they aren't kicking out the low performers, but that seems unlikely. The better explanation is that they just don't do a relatively good job of teaching blacks beyond elementary school.

Also, I don't really see how this refutes Phinton's point?

TMC and JWatts, So, your assertion is that even though 4th and 8th and high schoolers 4th, 8th, 24th and 30th in math and English, their ACT was 17th, that the reason was that the school system rids themselves of poor performing performing black students in high school to result in higher ACT math or english scores.

Support your claim with data below, citing to any studies or any data that would support that position.

Do not use the word "seems to imply" or that the school system "rid themselves" without any support. If you have support that the school system deliberately rids itself of these students, post below.

Some will call that challenge "being a twit", but that is because they may not have any support for the assertion and are being annoyed for having to offer evidence to support it.

Here's a hypothesis: It's because liberal fatheads in Minneapolis' educational establishment serve up fare to black students designed to make said liberal fatheads feel better about themselves, rather than fare which would help black students improve their skills.

While we're at it, the path to sanity is to quit fussing about 'disparities'. Disparities are of academic interest. What matters is that there be optimal use of students' time and teachers' time. That means tracking at all levels and that means students who get in the way of teachers teaching and other students learning are picked up by the scruff of their necks and turned over to the sheriff's department, which will keep them in detention cells most of the day and attempt small-group remedial instruction the rest of the day.

We will never take one step toward sanity. Too many people's amour-propre at stake.

....aren't you literally guaranteeing every one of them will be criminals? How can they do anything else at that point?

Sheesh, arrest kids for being disruptive in school? Talk about the school-to-prison pipeline...

We cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to you!

The Somalis are a low-single-digit minority in greater Minneapolis. Their deficits aren't having much of an effect on the data points.

I would think the first thing to look at is the places that are doing well in terms of disparities. Only in dystopian Lake Wobegon can racial disparities be above average everywhere. The graph in the Washington Post article shows one community where apparently the median black household income is greater than the median white household income but doesn't show the city. First, look at the low-disparity cities, confirm that conditions in those cities for minorities are actually better than in Minneapolis and, if so, look at how those cities differ from Minneapolis. I am surprised how often people don't start with a comparative analysis vs. success stories --- perhaps in this case reflecting a Lake Wobegon fallacy that there are no success stories --- before just asserting the usual claims.

Those two articles and some of the comments here give a good start. We need to look at panel data on major US cities (ideally we'd look at panel data on individuals or households, but I don't know if even Chetty has enough data, but a panel of cities is a good start).

How did blacks and whites compare in Minneapolis in the immediate post-war period? (If the discrepancies were already large then, then we'll have to look back even further into history). How has their income growth and educational achievement compared across time? When did the discrepancy become unusually large?

As a couple of commenters have noted, we also have to look at the size of the sub-populations: does Minneapolis have a large number of migrants from other states, and how have they done compared to native-born Minnesotans, both black and white, and compared to migrants to other northern or midwestern states? And of course how many international refugees, and how have they done?

Once we have more detailed data then we can start sorting through the explanations that have been offered, both in the comments and by Orfield and others. And start looking at the institutional and cultural history of Minneapolis. Was redlining and exclusionary zoning especially prevalent and long-lasting there? Did that period of desegregation efforts never reduce segregation in Minneapolis, or did the bit of desegregation that did occur fail to reduce the racial discrepancies?

Portland and Seattle might be especially good cities to compare Minneapolis to. Portland has even fewer minority residents than Minneapolis does, and Oregon's history of racial segregation goes back to its very founding: when Oregon became a state in 1859, its constitution literally prohibited black people from living in the state, owning property, or signing contracts.

And Portland has had the usual segregated neighborhoods, unequal public schools, etc. It even has a high proportion of residents of Scandinavian ancestry. It's not a paragon of racial progress but apparently it's done better than Minneapolis has -- is that a recent phenomenon? Given Oregon's anti-black beginnings, I wouldn't expect blacks there to have done better than blacks in Minnesota, not for the first few decades at least.

And black neighborhoods' post-war experience in Portland wasn't so great. The major black neighborhood, Vanport, sprang up during WW II -- and then was literally washed away in a huge flood shortly after the war ended. The nearby black neighborhoods were gentrified 10 or 20 years ago so low income blacks have had to move to the outer suburbs east of the central city.

Yet despite that, evidently Portland's racial disparities are smaller than Minneapolis's. What caused the difference? (Or maybe in fact Portland's disparities are very close to Minneapolis's, I haven't looked up the numbers.) Or, as some commenters have suggested, maybe blacks in Minneapolis do just as well as blacks in Portland, and it's the white in Minneapolis who do unusually well.

On population, please take a look at



Probably the old conservative critique is correct.

Progressive policy makes poor and low educated people a constituency.

This constituency and the various unions and special interest groups provide valuable votes and money, while keeping the wealthy progressive white people safely in their bubbles.

And, the conservative mantra is : Keep the rich your constituency and argue that those who try to help others are either engaged in a futile task or are in it for their own interest. Got it. So, that means you don't have to do a thing. Got it.

Also, how do you make someone a constituency if you do not perform better relative to the alternatives?

If the Republicans are trying to tell people that helping others is a waste of time they are doing a very poor job of it. Considering Republican voters considerably out give (money and time) Democrat voters. It might be one reason why Republican voting areas are vastly nicer places to live than Democrat voting ones.

Also that sort of Leninist cynicism is typical of the Left, not the Right.

They give to churches, if you are talking money and time. post below your support and exclude church giving.

Religious institutions are major source of aid to the poor, education, health care, etc., so what is the rationale for excluding them?

Add the fact that liberals are the overwhelming donors to Art centers and the like. Pretty useless for a hungry or illiterate kid.

Do you think that weekend entertainment by an inspiring preacher is the same as giving to the poor or helping them.

Tell you what.

I'll let you take out any money from church contributions that go to help the poor and add that to the pot if you want.

Your claim was that Republicans were trying to be rich by not giving. They give. Whether or not that giving is productive is irrelevant because they cannot hoard it once they have given it.

So your claim was garbage.

This would be a be good point for Bill to be the bigger man and admit his supposition was wrong.

Apparently So Much and JW did not read the comment by Meets to which I replied.. Which is funny, because Meets was saying wealthy progressives kept the money to themselves, to which So Much was that I said Republicans were trying to be rich by not giving. (notice that wasn't said: I just rephrased Meets mantra, but, oh, well. In reply I did point out to someone that the claim Republicans are more charitable has a problem with religious contributions.

So, what does the research say, rather than what JWatts and So Much or Meets say:

It's about religion and YOUR congregation:

Here it is: "We found the strongest support for the religious explanation. Republicans are not only more likely to attend church than Democrats, but church attendance – among Democrats and Republicans alike – is strongly associated with charitable giving. Gaps in giving, therefore, are linked to differences in the social composition of the parties, in which the average Republican is more religious than the average Democrat. Moreover, the overall giving gap emerges because Republicans donate more to their own religious congregations, rather than nationally active religious charities. Republicans and Democrats give roughly equal amounts to religious organisations aside from their own congregations, and we also find some evidence that Democrats donate more to non-religious organisations than Republicans. In other words, the baseline difference in charitable giving emerges because Republicans are more religious than Democrats, and religious people donate generously to their religious congregations."

And, the concluding paragraph:

Our findings have important implications for how we think about politics and charitable giving. It is a fact that there are differences in giving patterns between Democrats and Republicans. However, these differences stem from underlying differences in the social compositions of the parties, rather than from differences in ideological beliefs or a desire to signal status. In particular, the partisan gap appears because of a difference in a very specific type of giving, donating to one’s own congregation or house of worship. We find no conservative advantage when it comes to non-religious charities, or even religious charities beyond one’s own congregation. The large religiosity gap that exists in American politics today, coupled with the tendency of religious Americans to donate to their own churches, helps explain the overall partisan difference in charitable giving. To the extent that Republicans and Democrats are culturally divided, these divisions appear to have little, if anything to do with disagreements about public policy." https://www.democraticaudit.com/2017/11/17/republicans-give-more-to-charity-but-not-because-they-oppose-income-redistribution/

Thank you for the opportunity to provide real information to the audience as a reply to your unsupported assertions.

That assertion is contradicted here:

The religious out give to secular charities by 15pts. Similarly for conservatives/liberals, though probably compounding factors.
They also are more likely to volunteer time and donate blood.

Republican voting areas are vastly nicer places to live than Democrat voting ones.

Name one. Almost any nice place to live in the US tends to be heavily Democratic. Especially these days when Trump has alienated educated suburbanites.

No, the conservative mantra is to give people opportunity and they will gain in wealth and education.

And this in fact does happen, as long as they aren't trapped in a government impost poverty trap.

Of course people rising isn't so good for activist groups, tenant unions and other special interests whose funding depends on continued poverty.

Do you honestly believe that without assistance people will gain in wealth and education, and that government is trapping them in poverty.

What planet?

I guess the response would be it depends on the legislation.

If the federal or state legislation encourages removing the man from the house and you get more money or if your child does poorly in school and you get more money, it could lead to trapping them in poverty.

The saddest thing to see are people that are dependent on government for generation after generation. If you've ever seen a community celebrating the 16 year old getting pregnant, it's heartbreaking to watch. That is yet another generation that is a ward of the state.

Never said no assistance.

I said give them assistance in the form of opportunity, not in the form of a poverty trapping program or regulation

The conservative mantra has been: First, do no harm. And doing no harm may require sitting there and doing nothing. Thomas Sowell calls it the "constrained vision."

By contrast, the unconstrained vision believes that it is immoral to sit there and do nothing and has boundless faith that if we just try hard enough we can develop the expertise to cure any social ill.

"And doing no harm may require sitting there and doing nothing. Thomas Sowell calls it the "constrained vision.""

Thomas Sowell's argument was always weak but has become even weaker as any sort of predictor of the direction of conservative politics in the U.S. The Iraq War wasn't sitting there and doing nothing. Voter ID laws are not sitting there and doing nothing. Building a border wall doesn't involve sitting there and doing nothing. Etc.

And, the conservative mantra is : Keep the rich your constituency and argue that those who try to help others are either engaged in a futile task or are in it for their own interest. Got it. So, that means you don't have to do a thing. Got it.

Also, how do you make someone a constituency if you do not perform better relative to the alternatives?

sorry for the repeat. didn't post correctly to the previous comment above.

It’s ok we no to expect a low base of intelligence from your ugly boomer ass.

You are unable to respond civilly and that reflects on you, and not me.


The push to prevent skin cancer may have come with unintended consequences—impaired brain function because of a deficiency of vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” is synthesized in our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight, but sunblock impedes this process. And although vitamin D is well known for promoting bone health and regulating vital calcium levels—hence its addition to milk—it does more than that. Scientists have now linked this fat-soluble nutrient’s hormonelike activity to a number of functions throughout the body, including the workings of the brain.

“We know there are receptors for vitamin D throughout the central nervous system and in the hippocampus,” said Robert J. Przybelski, a doctor and research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “We also know vitamin D activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects neurons and reduces inflammation.

I am pulling a Kevin Drum.
This seems to be a better common denominator than lead poisoning.

Low expectations are the problem. Many well-meaning people in power, both Democrats and Republicans, have low expectations for students of color. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where kids have even lower expectations of themselves, teaching is slow as molasses, and schools lack the institution vigor needed to perform the immensely important task of setting these kids up for success.

I wonder whether we ever can address inequalities in any way that will solve these grievances or whether these riots will increase and destroy this country.

We will survive. These riots are a regularly scheduled event, every thirty yeas or so. It is a lot like going to college, well my college anyway.

This is a really sad thread of comments. It strips away MR’s appearance of legitimacy. I’m gone.

One less implicit authoritarian sociopath to deal with.....

People who lament the tenor of a conversation, without getting into specifics, are simply camouflaging their desire to control the speech and thought of others.

+1, it's fine to point out specific examples. However, the blanket denigration of the "legitimacy" of the site, makes me think the poster doesn't want to even see ideas he disagrees with.

My intuition says that it has to do with what people expect of themselves. If a person says to themselves, “I’m not good enough to learn this” or “I don’t need to learn this” or “it’s not my role to learn this” - then they won’t learn it.

It usually starts with a lagging behind in upbringing and then is reinforced by authority figures who are just trying to do damage control, at that point.

I think we need to reestablish each person as an opportunity, rather than a hardship, especially when it comes to education. As far as analysis goes, try to back out early education to find out the starting point.

How many new words do people hear before they start school? Is there a difference across states or communities? Education of parents, or maybe work opportunity (if the children see hope, they’ll pass it on, and it’s really this transfer of hope for a better life that matters).

Also, nutritional assistance programs, ability for the kids to get reading glasses would be good covariates.

I think it’s a bit harder to find proxies for transfer of hope between student and teacher. How do you find a proxy for that disparity? For favoritism for those that have a head-start?

Thomas Sowell has written extensively on this in the past. It was not uncommon in after reconstruction for black students to handily outpace all other groups on standardize testing.

Sowell's words:

Those who think this way are undeterred by the fact that there are schools where low-income and minority students do in fact score well on standardized tests. These students are like the bumblebees who supposedly should not be able to fly, according to the theories of aerodynamics, but who fly anyway, in disregard of those theories.
While there are examples of schools where this happens in our own time-- both public and private, secular and religious-- we can also go back nearly a hundred years and find the same phenomenon. Back in 1899, in Washington, D. C., there were four academic public high schools-- one black and three white.1 In standardized tests given that year, students in the black high school averaged higher test scores than students in two of the three white high schools.2

Minnesota nice. Never, ever, ever turn your back on someone from Minnesota. That smile would eat your children.

School districts in Minnesota, not the State, are responsible for selecting a reading curriculum so the answer to the question is completely evident: https://ela.mpls.k12.mn.us/elementary_literacy

So sad.

On average, white families are more likely to supplement school instruction with home based instruction and thus achieve more than students who solely rely upon the schools for reading instruction. See: https://search.proquest.com/openview/47a2ed230d2b3fb61252beff7d1aa958/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

And: https://www.wilder.org/wilder-research/research-library/early-literacy-review-and-analysis-conducted-generation-next

I think this is a good point. If your parents are teaching you at home (i.e. reading to you a lot and doing educational field trips) then it doesn't matter as much what the school curriculum is. The curriculum and teachers could be bad, but children of affluent homes are going to come out looking like it worked for them.

This is not a hard problem. It's just selection bias. Minneapolis has attracted an above average stock of while people and a below average stock of black people ("average" meaning compared to the same race as a whole). Basic behavior genetics.

Steve Sailer, who is often politically incorrect and 'not safe for work', has covered this a number of times in his posts at Unz.com and sometimes at Takimag. Sailer is smart and worth reading, with a relentlessly curious mind. I don't accept what he says uncritically--nor should you.

See especially his work "Crevasses in the Classroom" at Takimag as well as his occasional (and sometimes offensively polemical) series along the lines of "What's the Matter with Wisconsin."


Date: 4 May 2016.

= - = - = - =

If I had to make a list I would say...

1. Selection bias. Some of the smaller cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa may have received a different set of Black migrants from the south, with many migrants arriving later. Perhaps more likely pulled by benefits or pushed out of the dying cotton sharecropping system, rather than pulled by work opportunities that offered employment and with little promised but opportunity to "sink-or-swim." Perhaps.

2. Minnesota may be someplace where average white kids historically learned to read and control their attention at home, through a process that operates informally in the household. They somehow got the alphabet, some phonemic awareness, some sitzfleisch (sp?) at home. The schools then pushed them in the right direction.

My hypothesis: Maybe the schools don't do much initially at the earliest stages, but just push the kids in the right direction, and it works against kids from Black households or any households where they don't pick up basic reading skills at home. It's easy to fall behind by 2d grade and never catch up.

This is the process that Keith Stanovich calls "The Matthew Effect."

A double burden would be to grow up in a household that doesn't teach some literacy or diligent control of attention, and that also indulges a knee-jerk rebellion against authority. This is an empirical question.

I am reminded of an Orlando Patterson vignette of a crowded, poorly equipped classroom in Jamaica where every person is Black Jamaican. The teacher says "We learned this. You can learn it, too." The classroom is crowded, poorly equipped, but has a good teaching ethos, authoritative command, and there is no "cool poise" rebellion against a teacher of a different race. Only the age old youthful desire to outwit adults, and meanwhile most of the kids are learning something despite themselves.

It's worth noting that Minnesota tends be Lutheran or German Catholic, and the remainder perhaps...Irish Catholic? The Twin cities historically was mostly full of people from a cultural heritage with a three hundred plus years of commitment to universal literacy, with the exception of Irish Catholics.

3. Minnesota strikes me as a "guilt" culture that stresses diligence and self-motivated application, with the locus of control on the individual and the family. That system may not produce good outcomes for children from cultures that may implicitly expect the schools to motivate children, instruct them in detail, and supervise their progress.

The distinction I'm making is between "natural growth" and "concerted cultivation."

This argument quickly slides into pop-sociology. It may contain a kernel of insight.

While we are on pop-psychology, we may do as well mention the "Yankeeland" factor. The Puritan/Yankee culture complex as described by David Hackett Fischer goes from its New England hearth all the way through Western New York, Northern Ohio, etc. to Minnesota. It could be partly "baked in" to the natives. There is simply a certain affinity for bookishness and scholarly pursuits. But people who move to the region may not naturally pick it up by osmosis.

4. This ain't my area of specialization. I rather like the old book by E.D. Hirsch, _The schools we need--and why we don't have them_. Ca. 1995. He stresses that a systematic curriculum most benefits children from families where they don't pick up educational skills and general knowledge at home. Somewhere within the book contains that Orlando Patterson anecdote about Jamaica, too.

A loosey-goosey curriculum doesn't hurt upper middle class kids much--they get what they want at the dinner table, browsing the books on the family bookshelves, socializing with neighborhood kids who are the children of doctors and lawyers and accountants and business executives.

5. The late John Ogbu's work set in Shaker Heights, Cleveland is worth reading.

6. This is a list of hypotheses in no particular order. This last part is partly just what doesn't work--partly I'm channeling Steve Sailer.

A. anti-racism may not accomplish much. It's a fashion statement or an ideological stance, but we should not assume it improves education. Done poorly, it can just be moral preening. Our new religion, with a new liturgy. John McWhorter does a better job critiquing it than I can.

B. low expectations hurt. Liberals don't have to have low expectations, but sometimes they confuse niceness with weakness. I know I do. To really educate people you have to be like a drill instructor or physical therapist and be...sorry to say it... "willing to inflict pain."

It's like Andy Warhol teasing Lou Reed. "Lou, how many songs did you write last week?" Lou would lie and say "ten" and Andy would reply, "It should have been twenty."

You have to push people, tease them, and get them to internalize some drive. Or, if you are lucky, you can end up with people who like to push themselves habitually. Good work if you can get it. Like teaching physics to Oppenheimer or von Neumann.

As Dr. Samuel Johnson said, he would have learned no Latin had his master not whipped him.

C. Regarding the immigrant community, it is well documented that the Twin Cities has the largest concentration of Somalis in the USA, with Columbus OH probably second. I'm not certain what impact this has, so I will punt.

Twin Cities also has a pretty big community of Oromo from Southern Ethiopia--I think many Oromo are not from an especially literate or bookish culture. Probably they are the largest ethnolinguistic community in Ethiopia, a functional minority there, not especially well organized politically.

I briefly knew a family of Oromo in Iowa City who had languished for a decade in a refugee camp in Kenya. The kids all knew the Latin alphabet, at least.

Thanks for reading to the end of this discursive, meandering post.

Spot on. Worth the read.

Explaining why disparity is higher in MN than in other states is a hard question that will be difficult to answer even with immense amounts of data. It’s easier to explain the average black-white disparity which is disturbingly large.

Read Hillbilly Elegy. J. D. Vance grew up in a violent anti-education culture where most of his friends did poorly in school. He had to escape from his culture to succeed.

I am allowed to say that hillbilly culture causes poor outcomes, because hillbillies are white. Am I allowed to say that black culture in America is also violent and anti-education, and that explains the poor educational outcomes for blacks? Or is this too politically incorrect?

Racism is not the right answer. Barack Obama got a good education and was elected President. But he was not raised in the black culture. He spoke eloquently and did not use the MF word in every sentence. His culture mattered more than his color.

People who are thought to be racist cheer for their favorite black athletes. Excellence gets the recognition it deserves.

Liberals who think they are not racist would never send their children to a black K-12 school because their child would get more beatings than education. That is the culture in black schools.

Blacks in universities are safe because the thugs have been filtered out and university culture is totally different from ghetto culture.

Ghetto culture is a problem. Utah doesn’t have it, so blacks do well there. Left and right will not agree on how we should improve ghetto culture. We need to improve it. I think the ways to improve it can be found in the center between left and right.

Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell is a good book about black culture that could only have been written by a black economist.

Not much to add other than, if the question is to be answered, it will have to be through discussions like these. I see some are offended by certain comments. That's understandable. It's also necessary. Placing the blame on "institutional racism" or "slavery" will never tell the whole story but, more importantly, will never offer a solution because the problems become intransigent. We can work to change education, policing, housing, culture, behavior, employment. The focus needs to be placed there.

"Ghetto culture is a problem. Utah doesn’t have it, so blacks do well there."

Ghetto culture is clearly a problem, and it's something we could solve. But it's not an easy fix. And I'm not sure that ghetto culture is the sole problem. You use black culture interchangeably above, but they aren't the same. There are positive aspects of black culture that clearly aren't part of ghetto culture and there are parts of the ghetto culture that aren't black.

So, I think you have to be careful and call out specific destructive behaviors. Otherwise, you are just stereotyping people unfairly and not targeting the offending behavior specifically.

ghetto culture is certainly not exclusively black. Case in point
(and Eminem before her, and many more)

The specific destructive behaviors are violence and anti-education bullying. A black child who does well in school is tormented by his peers for “acting white”.

All cultures which are violent and anti-education have bad educational outcomes, whether hillbilly or black or Boko Haram.

Counter intuitively black Americans seem to do better in the south than in the north east of the Rockies. In Wisconson and Minnesota they seem to do especially bad.

It could be that they are too small a percent of those states but not small enough to have to mix in like in the west.

I dug up some of the data on performance on the national mathematics exam in the 8th grade (I assume the results for 4th and 12th grade and for reading, etc... are similar) broken down by race. Nationally, the average scores among whites (W), blacks(B), hispanics(H), and Asians (A) are: 292/260/268/310. The correlation between black achievement and white achievement state by state has an R^2~0.1. It is essentially a scatter plot. The "state" with the lowest dispersion is the DoD schools: 298/276/285/300. Setting this aside because of the obvious biases involved, The state for with the best scores for white is DC (323) and the worst is WV (273). Other top states for whites are CT, MD, MN, MA, and NJ. The state with the best score for blacks is VA (268) followed closely by NH, MA, and AZ. The worst is a tie among Iowa, Arkansas, Alabama, and Wisconsin (249). For hispanics, the top states are MT, VA, MS, ND, FL, and GA (281-275). The worst are RI, PA, OR, and MD (255-261). The top-5 for Asian students are MA, NJ, CT, GA, and NC. The bottom five are Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, and Alaska (269-290).

What seems clear to me is that states don't have "good" school systems or "bad" school systems. PA is great if you're white or asian and terrible if you are black or hispanic. On the other hand, Mississippi is great if you are hispanic, but not so much if you are white (I combined public and private schools). The achievement gap between Asians and Whites and between whites and blacks/hispanics is nationwide. The one place where it is smallest is in schools on military bases overseas. I've seen very limited data on intra-school performance broken down by race, but what little I've seen shows similar trends. The dispersion among states for a given race is small compared to the differences between the races. In other words, the schools in Mississippi are not substantially worse than the schools in Massachusetts. The racial composition is very different though and that makes it looks like the performance of the schools is very different.

My guess is that the primary reason for the achievement gaps among the races is mostly tied to family priorities, habits, and behavior. Other factors usually dealt with in school reform are likely less important.

Thank you for the data and thank you for the research. You might also look at the supporting material I posted above.

Thank you for your work.

Stand up and take a bow.

My wife worked in the Minneapolis school district for a few years. Some thoughts:
1) The school zoning is, essentially, optional. We lived in an almost all-white neighborhood (https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/n/bryn---mawr-minneapolis-mn/residents/). The school three blocks from our house was the reverse of the neighborhood demographics (https://www.schooldigger.com/go/MN/schools/2124001878/school.aspx). Almost all the students in the school came from a neighborhood a few miles north that had many single-parent homes (not quickly finding a link) and is in an area full of crime (see cluster surrounding 66 on the west side of the river, vs school is between 55 and 394). The trend started years before we moved there, but once kids from the poorer neighborhoods increased school attendance in Bryn Mawr, the local kids started attending elsewhere.
2) Point above wasn't driven by racism despite what it appears on the surface. Many of my wife’s students were not getting enough attention at home; result of single family situation. One of her students was hit by a ricochet bullet. Many others didn't have a bedtime and came to school sleep deprived. There was an abnormally high (anecdotally ~20% over the several years) of extremely disruptive students and not enough resources at the school to deal with them, so they took a vast majority of her and other teachers’ attention. Parents with more flexibility and means (financial and other) to make sure their kids could attend less disruptive schools did just that. A matter of school selection and sorting, even at the elementary school level. (For context, my wife spent all 7 of her teaching years at schools with >50% on free or reduced lunch. Worked in VA, HI, and MN. MN was much worse than the other two in terms of disruptive children and teacher support.)
3) So, to answer your commenters question, it’s true that it’s not structural racism in the sense that there is no malice. But the answer from my wife’s experience isn’t something that can necessarily be extracted to the state or country. As long as there is an ability to choose different locations (whether schools w/ loose districting, or, where firmer districting is in place, living locations), there will be sorting out of maternal/paternal protectiveness of children. Our neighborhood was very liberal. They would agree systemically is bad but view their decision as one on the margins.
4) The solution needs to start with familial support. I was getting started in the Big Brother / Big Sister program but had to withdraw my application once we found we were moving from the state. It’s more support that is needed. Schooling is not the root issue; home life is.
5) One last note, I see in the comments many people discussing immigrants. That’s true in some sections of Minneapolis, but wasn’t the case in my above notes. Instead, many of the families were from Chicago and left to escape the violence. Unfortunately, they landed in the most violent place in Minneapolis which isn’t much better (although better from statistics I’ve seen). It’s families trying to do the best for their kids, but they need support.

The Democratic Party's welfare plantation breeds generational poverty, ignorance and violent people. 55 years and trillions of dollars later we have more poor, ignorant, fatherless, homeless and violent people than ever before in our history.

Embedded in the way the question is phrased is an assumption that school quality is constant and the students themselves are the variable yielding different outcomes.

Minnesota has above average whites and (leaving aside the Somalis) below average blacks. Few blacks moved from the South all the way to Minnesota for factory jobs before the 1960s, so the big influx of blacks to Minnesota were not strivers looking to better themselves with well-paying work, but were instead welfare mothers attracted by Scandinavian welfare generosity.

Much the same is true next door in Wisconsin, which has huge white-black gaps, especially in liberal Madison. I documented using welfare payment statistics why this was in this 2016 column "What's the Matter with Wisconsin?"


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