Friday, April 07, 2006


A generally sensible article excerpted below -- but one with stupid conclusions. What does it suggest if blacks and Hispanics try just as often as whites to get challenging degrees but fail a lot more? Nobody who knew the respective IQ averages would be the least bit surprised at the finding but IQ is not mentioned below, of course

Among the many concerns that policy makers, politicians and others have expressed about the current state of American science and math education has been the comparatively low rate at which black and Hispanic students - the country's fastest growing populations - enter and thrive in high-demand science and technology fields. And foremost among the presumed causes of those low rates has been the idea that those students, because of lack of academic preparation, are failing early in their college careers to get through courses that are designed to weed out less qualified students from those majors.

A study released Monday by the American Council on Education suggests that a relative lack of academic preparation in high school does indeed diminish Hispanic and African-American students' chances of completing degrees in science, math and technology fields. But the report, "Increasing the Success of Minority Students in Science and Technology," finds that the problem comes significantly later in students careers.

Black students who enrolled in college in 1995-6 were just as likely as their white peers to major in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, while Hispanic students were more likely than both of those groups and second only to Asian-American students...

And by the spring of 1998, when those students are three years into their college careers, members of the various racial and ethnic groups who began majoring in science and technology fields are still enrolled and majoring in those fields at strikingly similar rates...

But by spring 2001, the pipeline has sprung a leak. By that six-year mark, 62.5 percent of the African-American and Hispanic students majoring in STEM fields had earned bachelor's degrees, compared to 86.7 percent of white students and 94.8 percent of Asian-American students. Most of the rest of the black and Hispanic students - 28.8 percent - were still enrolled at four-year institutions, so it's not as if they had necessarily failed. But, the study finds, they clearly had taken an "unexpected detour" in their careers that put them behind their peers.

To offer some insight as to why, the report next compares the characteristics (regardless of race) of those science and technology majors who had completed their degrees and those who had not. Those who had finished their programs of study were significantly likelier than the "non-completers" to have taken a "rigorous" high school curriculum (42 percent vs. 18 percent of the "non-completers"); to have at least one parent with a college degree (64.4 percent vs. 38 percent of non-completers); and to be from families in the highest third of the national population in average income (47 percent vs. 28.1 percent).

Those who earned their degree were also more likely to be enrolled full time (75 percent vs. 49.3 percent) and less likely to work at least 15 hours a week (27.1 percent vs. 42.6 percent of non-completers). The students who did not finish their degrees were far less likely to have received financial aid grants worth at least $5,000 in their first year of study, by a margin of 7.6 percent vs. 38.5 percent).

While inadequate academic preparation is a major factor in the failure of black and Hispanic students to earn degrees in science and technology fields, the report of the study concludes, "the biggest challenge for institutions seeking to improve student persistence in encouraging students to work less and attend full time consistently. "This is a major challenge because these are two areas that institutions can do little to control," the report adds. "[I]nstitutions should provide academic advising and financial aid options that encourage students to enroll full time and reduce their need to work more than 14 hours a week."

More here

No Child Left Behind? Ask the Gifted

Despite all the talk about America losing its edge in the global market, programs for the gifted and talented are threatened on several fronts. There are fewer classes for gifted elementary and middle school children today than there were a decade ago, said Jane Clarenbach, public relations director of the National Association for Gifted Children. In 1998, 25 states reported that 80 to 100 percent of their local school districts provided services to gifted students; last year, there were 22 states reporting that level of services. Ms. Clarenbach said the federal No Child Left Behind law was "eroding support for gifted services." Passed in 2002, the law rates schools on how students perform on reading and math tests, pressuring districts to focus resources on students struggling to attain proficiency. Schools that score too low can be taken over. "It's important to help the kids who are struggling," Ms. Clarenbach said, "but it's important to challenge the kids on the other end, too."

She said that while the extra $90 million President Bush has budgeted this year for Advanced Placement math and science programs was good news, "we need to do more K to 8 so more kids will be in a position to take the A.P. tests in high school." Each year, President Bush has eliminated the $9 million Javits Act, the only federal financing for elementary and middle school gifted programs. And each year, a bipartisan Congressional coalition has saved it, this year led by Senators Charles E. Grassley and Christopher J. Dodd. In New Jersey, Gov. John S. Corzine recently cut financing for the Governor's School of New Jersey, a 22-year-old, $1.9 million summer program that sent 600 top high school juniors to college campuses to study science, engineering and international relations.

A new study by the Center on Education Policy found that the federal law put so much emphasis on reading and math, there has been a reduction in teaching history, science and the arts. And that appears to have affected field trips. Peter O'Connell, who runs the educational program at the national park in Lowell, Mass., just completed a survey of school visits to 10 history museums in New England, including Old Sturbridge Village and Plimoth Plantation. He found a 20 percent decline in student visits in the last few years. "Schools aren't devoting as much time to history, especially urban districts," Dr. O'Connell said.

More here

Australian Left ends class war against private schools

Labor is preparing to dump Mark Latham's controversial policy of a private schools "hit list" by guaranteeing the funding of all non-government schools.

In a rejection of the politics of envy which sought to strip funding from 67 private schools, Labor has abandoned its philosophical objections to funding wealthy schools by promising they will not to be disadvantaged under the ALP. The infamous schools "hit list", the Tasmanian forest policy and the Medicare Gold policy, later deemed a "turkey" by the then president of the ALP, Barry Jones, are considered to be the most damaging policies Labor took to the last election.

After running an old-fashioned class war at the poll, Labor's new policy will guarantee no school will face a reduction in funding. Kim Beazley has decided to act on the policy and wipe out the image of a Latham-led Labor Party picking off the richest schools, such as The King's School in Sydney with its rifle ranges and swimming pools, and threatening hundreds of other schools, including poorer Catholic schools, with losing funding over time.

The new school-funding policy has not yet been discussed in detail within the ALP's strategy group nor presented to the Labor front bench. But senior Labor sources confirmed to The Australian last night that the hit list was going, and said the Opposition Leader and his deputy and education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, were working on a new way forward for schools.

Mr Beazley and Ms Macklin are working on a "bedrock" Labor policy that is directed towards shifting government funds to schools where they are most needed, government or non-government. "The emphasis in the new policy is need," a senior Labor source said last night. Ms Macklin refused to comment on the review and said the policy, like all 2004 election policies, was under review. But Ms Macklin's shift in direction from the policy she crafted for the last election under the leadership of Mr Latham will be welcomed joyously by most federal Labor MPs.

While aspects of the policy appealed to some Labor supporters at the last election, fears among poorer non-government schools of a flow-on effect as indexation cut funding from more and more private schools were widespread. There are also political concerns within the front bench and on the ALP back bench that the politics of envy did not work for Labor and made the party under Mr Latham appear threatening and mean-spirited on education.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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