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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘ACT’

Correct Diagnostics Needed – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 20, 2020

James D. Agresti, the president and co-founder of Just Facts has just published an article titled “Social Ills That Plague African Americans Coincide with Leftism, Not Racism.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/11/walter-e-williams/correct-diagnostics-needed/

By Walter E. Williams

You present to a physician with severe abdominal pain. He examines you and concludes that your ingrown toenails are the cause of your abdominal distress. He prescribes that you soak your feet in warm water but that does not bring relief to your abdominal pain. Then he suggests that you apply antibiotics to your feet. Still no relief. Then the physician suggests that you wear sandals instead of shoes. Still no relief. The point of this story is that your toenails can be treated until the cows come home, but if there is improper diagnosis, then you are still going to have your abdominal pain.

The former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, Meria Carstarphen, last year said, “White students are nearly 4.5 grade levels ahead of their black peers within Atlanta Public Schools.” In San Francisco, 70% of white students are proficient in math; for black students, it is 12% — a gap of 58%. In Washington, D.C., 83% of white students scored proficient in reading, as did only 23% of black students — a gap of 60%. In Philadelphia, 47% of black students scored below basic in math and 42% scored below basic in reading. In Baltimore, 59% of black students scored below basic in math and 49% in reading. In Detroit, 73% of black students scored below basic in math and 56% in reading.

“Below basic” is the score a student receives when he is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and grade level skills. How much can racism explain this? To do well in school, someone must make a kid do his homework, get a good night’s rest, have breakfast and mind the teacher. If these basic family functions are not performed, it makes little difference how much money is put into education the result will be disappointing.

In 2019, the racial breakdown of high school seniors who took the ACT college entrance exam and met its readiness benchmarks was 62% of Asians, 47% of whites, 23% of Hispanics and 11% of blacks. That helps explain a 2016 study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce “African Americans: College Majors and Earnings.” It found that black college students were highly concentrated in lower-paying and less academically demanding majors like administrative services and social work. They are much less likely than other students to major in science, technology, engineering and math, even though blacks in these fields earned as much as 50% more than blacks who earned a bachelor’s degree in art or psychology and social work.

James D. Agresti, the president and co-founder of Just Facts has just published an article titled “Social Ills That Plague African Americans Coincide with Leftism, Not Racism.” Agresti writes: “Among all of the afflictions that disproportionately impact people of color, violence may be the worst. In 2018, blacks comprised 13% of the U.S. population but roughly 53% of the 16,000 murder victims.” The clearance rate for murders, where a suspect was identified and charged, declined from 92% in 1960 to 62% in 2018. For example, in Chicago, the clearance rate fell from 96% in 1964 to 45% in 2018. In Baltimore, the 2019 clearance rate was 32%. In 2015, when Baltimore experienced the highest per-capita murder rate in its history, the average homicide suspect had been previously arrested more than nine times. When crimes remain unsolved, it gives criminals free range and black people are their primary victims. By the way, most law enforcement occurs at the local level. The governments at these local levels are typically dominated by Democrats.

According to statistics about fatherless homes, 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure; 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; and 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions have no father. Furthermore, fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to end up in jail. Dr. Thomas Sowell has argued, “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

The bottom line is that while every vestige of racial discrimination has not been eliminated, today’s discrimination cannot go very far in explaining the problems faced by a large segment of the black community.

The Best of Walter E. Williams Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page.

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How To Fix College Admissions – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2020

We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/walter-e-block/how-to-fix-college-admissions/

By

First we separate all institutions of higher learning into two categories. In one, we include those that are purely private, which accept no direct subsidies from government whatsoever; in the other, all the rest.

Into the first classification we place Hillsdale College, Michigan; Grove City College, Pennsylvania; University of San Francisco, California; Christendom College, Virginia; Pensacola Christian College, Florida; Patrick Henry College, Virginia; Wyoming Catholic College, Wyoming; Gutenberg College, Oregon; Yeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudic Seminary of Denver, Colorado; Biola University, California; Bob Jones University, South Carolina, Goldsboro Christian Schools, North Carolina. There may be a few more, but not too many.

What should be our perspective on the admissions policies of universities in this first, private category? They may do exactly as they please. We live, hopefully, in a free country, and freedom means the right to inaugurate your own policies, provided, only, that you do not violate the rights of others. No one has any right to be enrolled in any of these places without the permission of their owners. That would constitute trespass. High up on the list of liberty is freedom of association. These colleges should admit whoever they choose, with no non-discrimination requirements imposed upon them at all. They may use SAT and ACT to their heart’s content. Or not.

What of the remaining 99.99% of universities in the country which are directly subsidized, or owned outright, by the state? While private persons and schools should be free to discriminate, the same does not apply to government or quasi governmental institutions. They should not be allowed to discriminate on any basis whatsoever. For example, the controversial ACT and SAT tests should be forbidden to them as admission criteria.  These discriminate, mainly, between people with high and low IQs. It is intolerable for a state or state-related institution to make such an invidious distinction. After all, the government does not impose intelligence tests on those it admits to its buses, trains, libraries, parks, hospitals, museums, art galleries, concert halls, zoos, sports arenas, beaches, etc. In some countries, the government owns the airlines; in Canada, PetroCan owned a string of gas stations. No intelligence requirement was obligatory for service from these state institutions either.

This non-discrimination policy should apply not only to admissions, but also to grading. Enrolling students who can hardly read, write or do math will not suffice, for with any such system they will soon fail out. Other public institutions, see above, have no such grading systems, which would remove the intellectually non-gifted after a while. There is simply no justification for doing so in education either. This is NOT satire. I am very serious about this. These recommendations follow, logically, from the premise that it is and should be unlawful for government to discriminate against the intellectually challenged.

Of course, this would spell the ruination of these public universities. At present, the following US institutions are highly ranked in terms of prestige: University of California , Los Angeles; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill; University of Virginia; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Texas, Austin; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of California, Berkeley; Indiana University.  So are these ostensibly “private” ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, Duke, Hopkins. Many of these are highly ranked in world compilations. Were freedom instituted, none of this would be true any longer. Smart students would no longer enroll due to the intellectual diversity of open admission. Accomplished professors would go elsewhere.

Would that be a detriment to this modest proposal? Of course not. If these universities wished to retain the prestige they presently justifiably enjoy, they will have to eschew all direct government grants (the relation between the state and their students is entirely a different matter, and an irrelevant one). But this is precisely the goal of the freedom philosophy. The desiderata is not only separation of church and state, but, also, separation of education and state. We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

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Fraud in Higher Education – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 4, 2019

Here is a list of some other actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years: “What If Harry Potter Is Real?” “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame,” “Philosophy and Star Trek,” “Learning from YouTube,” “How To Watch Television,” and “Oh, Look, a Chicken!” The questions that immediately come to mind are these: What kind of professor would teach such courses, and what kind of student would spend his time taking such courses? Most importantly, what kind of college president and board of trustees would permit classes in such nonsense?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/walter-e-williams/fraud-in-higher-education/

By

This year’s education scandal saw parents shelling out megabucks to gain college admittance for their children. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 50 people with participating in a scheme to get their children into colleges by cheating on entrance exams or bribing athletic coaches. They paid William Singer, a college-prep professional, more than $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators and to change test scores on college admittance exams such as the SAT and ACT. As disgusting as this grossly dishonest behavior is, it is only the tiny tip of fraud in higher education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, only 37% of white high school graduates tested as college-ready, but colleges admitted 70% of them. Roughly 17% of black high school graduates tested as college-ready, but colleges admitted 58% of them. A 2018 Hechinger Report found, “More than four in 10 college students end up in developmental math and English classes at an annual cost of approximately $7 billion, and many of them have a worse chance of eventually graduating than if they went straight into college-level classes.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “when considering all first-time undergraduates, studies have found anywhere from 28 percent to 40 percent of students enroll in at least one remedial course. When looking at only community college students, several studies have found remediation rates surpassing 50 percent.” Only 25% of students who took the ACT in 2012 met the test’s readiness benchmarks in all four subjects (English, reading, math and science).

It’s clear that high schools confer diplomas that attest that a student can read, write and do math at a 12th-grade level when, in fact, most cannot. That means most high diplomas represent fraudulent documents. But when high school graduates enter college, what happens? To get a hint, we can turn to an article by Craig E. Klafter, “Good Grieve! America’s Grade Inflation Culture,” published in the Fall 2019 edition of Academic Questions. In 1940, only 15% of all grades awarded were A’s. By 2018, the average grade point average at some of the nation’s leading colleges was A-minus. For example, the average GPA at Brown University (3.75), Stanford (3.68), Harvard College (3.63), Yale University (3.63), Columbia University (3.6), University of California, Berkeley (3.59).

The falling standards witnessed at our primary and secondary levels are becoming increasingly the case at tertiary levels. “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses” is a study conducted by Professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. They found that 45% of 2,300 students at 24 colleges showed no significant improvement in “critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.”

An article in News Forum for Lawyers titled “Study Finds College Students Remarkably Incompetent” cites a study done by the American Institutes for Research that revealed that over 75% of two-year college students and 50% of four-year college students were incapable of completing everyday tasks. About 20% of four-year college students demonstrated only basic mathematical ability, while a steeper 30% of two-year college students could not progress past elementary arithmetic. NBC News reported that Fortune 500 companies spend about $3 billion annually to train employees in “basic English.”

Here is a list of some other actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years: “What If Harry Potter Is Real?” “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame,” “Philosophy and Star Trek,” “Learning from YouTube,” “How To Watch Television,” and “Oh, Look, a Chicken!” The questions that immediately come to mind are these: What kind of professor would teach such courses, and what kind of student would spend his time taking such courses? Most importantly, what kind of college president and board of trustees would permit classes in such nonsense?

The fact that unscrupulous parents paid millions for special favors from college administrators to enroll their children pales in comparison to the poor educational outcomes, not to mention the gross indoctrination of young people by leftist professors.

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Tough Testing – Taki’s Magazine – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on October 17, 2019

This country needs to reform testing, to get it back to doing the job it did fairly well in the past. But few are interested in discussing how to fix testing because that would require honesty, which tends to get you canceled these days.

Of course, Asians get, by far, the highest test scores of all, and have been widening the gap in this century…They tend to confuse The Narrative.

https://www.takimag.com/article/tough-testing/

by Steve Sailer

One of the less remarked-upon gender gaps is in college attendance: Young men have fallen far behind young women. Males now make up only 43 percent of college students despite continuing to earn slightly higher average scores on college admission tests.

Perversely, journalist Paul Tough’s much-praised new book, The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, calls for America to worsen this inequality by dumping the SAT and ACT for being biased toward boys.

To Tough, college entrance examinations are just another conspiracy to make white boys look good.

One important fact that Tough points out is that prestigious colleges have vastly more money to spend per student than do less famous colleges. Although list-price tuitions at private colleges are virtually the same (and the average private student now gets a 51 percent discount as “financial aid”), the famous colleges receive immensely larger gifts, so they have far more to lavish upon their students.

Consider Harvard (which, perhaps not coincidentally, took the lead in developing the modern testing system in the 1930s and 1940s).

In 2013, the president of Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust (or Doctor Faust), announced a $6.5 billion fundraising goal, the most ambitious campaign in higher-education history. But when it was over, Harvard had raised $9.6 billion. (It’s almost as if Harvard is adept at picking applicants who, decades later, will write giant checks to Harvard.)

So, in the unlikely event that you get a chance to go to Harvard rather than to Directional State U., you might well consider it. For example, if you run into a rough patch, Harvard has the resources to help you avoid flunking out. And if you are thriving intellectually, Harvard has all sorts of delightful amenities for the best minds.

In turn, some lucrative careers such as consulting and investment banking don’t recruit much at non-rich colleges…

By the way, this history suggests one reason Harvard gives advantages in admission to legacies and athletes in minor sports. I strongly suspect that donors who write eight-figure checks to Harvard tend to be some combination of:

(1) Son of a Harvard grad;

(2) Did well on his SAT;

(3) Competed on a minor sports team like rowing or squash; and

(4) Now wants his daughter or son to go to Harvard.

I had hoped that Tough would have gotten access to the secret statistical models that colleges have created of who donates and who doesn’t, but he doesn’t seem to realize that they have studied this.

Strikingly, Caroline Hoxby, a black economist at Stanford, is more or less the villainess of Tough’s book. She did a study with Christopher Avery of lower-income students with high test scores. Hoxby found that urban high scorers often applied to prestigious colleges. But, Tough writes:

In contrast to that small, ambitious group, the majority of high-scoring low-income students had aspirations that seemed more constrained. They followed the same pattern as lower-scoring low-income students, applying only to one or two institutions, often including a local community college or nearby nonselective public university.

Who are these overlooked smart high schoolers?

These students were more likely to live in small towns or rural areas in the middle of the country and to attend schools where they would be one of only a few high-achieving students. They were also significantly more likely to be white; 80 percent of them, in fact, were white, compared to just 45 percent of the achievement typical students.

In other words, this country’s most underprivileged reservoir of underutilized talent is Red State white boys

Of course, Asians get, by far, the highest test scores of all, and have been widening the gap in this century. But Asians don’t come up all that much in The Years That Matter Most. They tend to confuse The Narrative.

This country needs to reform testing, to get it back to doing the job it did fairly well in the past. But few are interested in discussing how to fix testing because that would require honesty, which tends to get you canceled these days.

If, instead, admission testing were eliminated in a fit of ideological pique, the smart folks at Harvard would no doubt quickly figure out some work-around and Harvard would continue to prosper, as it has done for almost 400 years.

The rest of us, however, are neither as clever nor as rich, so we would less be able to afford the consequences of doing such a stupid thing.

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