Thursday, August 18, 2016
Does Black Success Matter?
We keep hearing that “black lives matter,” but they seem to matter only when that helps politicians to get votes, or when that slogan helps demagogues demonize the police. The other 99 percent of black lives destroyed by people who are not police do not seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media.
What about black success? Does that matter? Apparently not so much.
We have heard a lot about black students failing to meet academic standards. So you might think that it would be front-page news when some whole ghetto schools not only meet, but exceed, the academic standards of schools in more upscale communities.
There are in fact whole chains of charter schools where black and Hispanic youngsters score well above the national average on tests. There are the KIPP (Knowledge IS Power Program) schools and the Success Academy schools, for example.
Only 39 percent of all students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the “proficient” level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy school scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.
The Success Academy schools in general ranked in the top 2 percent in English and in the top 1 percent in math. Hispanic students in these schools reached the “proficient” level in math nearly twice as often as Hispanic students in the regular public schools. Black students in these Success Academy schools reached the “proficient” level more than twice as often as black students in the regular public schools.
What makes this all the more amazing is that these charter schools are typically located in the same ghettos or barrios where other blacks or Hispanics are failing miserably on the same tests. More than that, successful charter schools are often physically housed in the very same buildings as the unsuccessful public schools.
In other words, minority kids from the same neighborhood, going to school in classes across the hall from each other, or on different floors, are scoring far above average and far below average on the same tests.
If black success was considered half as newsworthy as black failures, such facts would be headline news — and people who have the real interests of black and other minority students at heart would be asking, “Wow! How can we get more kids into these charter schools?”
Many minority parents have already taken notice. More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools. But admission is by lottery, and far more have to be turned away than can be admitted.
Why? Because the teachers' unions are opposed to charter schools — and they give big bucks to politicians, who in turn put obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. These include politicians like New York’s “progressive” mayor Bill de Blasio, who poses as a friend of blacks by denigrating the police, standing alongside Al Sharpton.
The net result is that 90 percent of New York City’s students are taught in the regular public schools that have nothing like the success of charter schools run by KIPP and Success Academy.
That makes sense only politically, because it gains the money and the votes of the teachers' unions, for whom schools exist to provide jobs for their members, rather than to provide education for children.
If you want to understand this crazy and unconscionable situation, just follow the money and follow the votes.
Black success is a threat to political empires and to a whole social vision behind those empires. That social vision has politicians like Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton cast in the role of rescuers and protectors of blacks from enemies threatening on all sides. If politicians can promote paranoia, that means bigger voter turnout, which is what really matters to them.
That same social vision allows the intelligentsia, whether in the media or in academia, to be on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. That’s heady stuff. And a bunch of kids taking tests doesn’t look nearly as exciting on TV as a mob marching through the streets, chanting that they want “dead cops.” Black success has very little to offer politicians or the intelligentsia. But black children’s lives and futures ought to matter — and would, if politicians and the intelligentsia were for real.
Quarter of UK graduates are low earners 10 years after university
One in four graduates in work a decade after leaving university in 2004 is earning only around £20,000 a year, according to a new study.
The Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset is the first of its kind to track higher education leavers as they move from university into the workplace. Its findings are likely to be scrutinised closely by students considering whether to accept a university place when they receive their A-level results.
The low earning power of some graduates has become an increasing concern, as student numbers have boomed in recent years. Earlier this summer the Higher Education Statistics Agency published figures showing that one in four graduates was not in a graduate job six months after receiving a degree.
The LEO survey, which is not adjusted for inflation, reveals that the median earnings for a graduate were £16,500 one year on from when they left university in 2004, increasing to £22,000 after three years and rising to £31,000 in 2014. The lowest quartile of graduate earners fared significantly worse. A year after they graduated in 2004 their median earnings were just £11,500, rising to £16,500 after three years and £20,000 after 10. The average wage in Britain is currently £26,500.
Fears of a huge debt burden upon graduation have already led some potential university recruits to seek alternative career paths.
“The statistics are fairly clear,” said Alice Barnard, chief executive officer of the education charity the Edge Foundation, which champions vocational education. “Immediately after graduation, many graduates are either in jobs that didn’t require a degree or didn’t require the level of education they had got themselves to. They have invested not only time, energy and effort but also quite a lot of money and potentially come out the other side without the jobs they perhaps expected to get.”
Barnard pointed out that an apprentice who completes a two-year course with Jaguar Land Rover can expect to be earning around £30,000 immediately, without having incurred any debt.
“Ten years down the line, if you’re earning a huge amount you can say, ‘well, I do feel that was value for money because my degree has taken me to this point’,” she said. “What is concerning perhaps is that, 10 years after, graduate salaries stand at £31,000, which for a higher apprenticeship for companies like Jaguar Land Rover is fairly common after, say, two years.”
Any shift towards apprenticeships would have a significant impact on the fortunes of universities that face new challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining students both at home and abroad. Experts question whether Brexit will have an impact on the number of European students opting to accept places at British universities.
On the domestic front, this year has seen a 2.2% drop in the overall number of 18-year-olds in the UK, a decline that is expected to last several years. While this has not yet translated into a shortfall in teenagers applying for university places, Ucas reports that this year there has been a 5% decrease in applications from those aged 20-24.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said market conditions could play to the advantage of students considering university. “I know people have been saying it’s a buyer’s market for two to three years, but it’s definitely the case now,” he said.
A record six Australian universities gonged by Jiao Tong
Monash University and the University of Queensland are the big Australian winners in the new global top 100 list from the Chinese-based Academic Ranking of World Universities, increasingly regarded as the world's most prestigious list for higher education institutions.
In the 2016 rankings, released on Monday, Monash went from outside the top 100 directly to 79th, only two points behind the Australian National University which has been in the top 100 ever since the ranking was first published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003.
The University of Queensland moved from 77th last year to 55th, in keeping with its reputation as the most rapid improver among Australia's top universities.
"It's an incredible achievement, given the domestic policy difficulties the Australian higher education sector has faced for a very long period," said University of Queensland vice chancellor Peter Hoj.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities, often known as the Shanghai ranking, rates universities solely on their output of high level research, with science, maths and medicine taking precedence over other disciplines.
It rewards universities strongly if its staff or graduates win Nobel prizes or Fields medals in maths, and also rewards publication in the top research journals Science and Nature. It does not measure teaching quality or the employability of university graduates.
The University of Melbourne remains Australia's top university in the ranking, lifting from 44th last year to 40th this year. The University of Sydney also did well, returning to the top 100 at 82nd after dropping out two years ago. The University of Western Australia just scraped in at 96th place.
This year was a landmark for China which, for the first time, saw its universities enter the Shanghai top 100 list. In a very strong performance Tsinghua University vaulted into the list directly to 58th, and Peking University moved straight to 71st.
Professor Hoj contrasted the tight funding for universities in Australia with China, which was making "massive and strategic investments in higher education and research".
Singapore is also celebrating a notable achievement. Only days after Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling won the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal, the country saw its first ever university listed in the Shanghai ranking top 100.
National University of Singapore, long recognised as south-east Asia's best academic institution, entered the list at 83rd.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:56 AM