Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Diversity gap at Boston Latin School proving stubborn

Of course it is stubborn. It always will be.  They are trying to square the circle.  Getting dummies into a selective school is a contradiction in terms.  No matter how often and how clearly it has been shown, nobody in Boston is prepared to face the fact that blacks on average have markedly lower IQs.  So they pretend that blacks are just as smart but "disadvantaged" in some way.  But that pretense just leads to futile behavior.  Any attempts to remove that disadvantage will have only the most marginal effect  -- because "disadvantage" is not the problem.  IQ is.  Accepting reality would save a lot of running around in circles

Inside Boston Latin School on a recent Saturday, educators presented a diverse crowd of fifth-graders a golden opportunity: admission to a free, two-week summer test-preparation program that could help them get into one of the city’s prestigious exam schools.

For the second year in a row, in the hopes of boosting diversity, school officials nearly doubled the number of seats in the program, inviting not just those with the top standardized test scores but also promising students from forgotten corners of the city.

“We’re here because the district and three exam schools have recognized that we need to do a better job increasing the number of . . . underrepresented students that attend the exam schools,” interim headmaster Michael Contompasis told the crowd.

But the effort has yet to bear fruit at Boston Latin. The graduating class of 2023 is expected to look very much like the student body does now.

Of the 495 students invited to enter Boston Latin’s seventh grade next fall, 39 — just 8 percent — are black, the same percentage as this year’s student body. Fourteen percent are Hispanic, up slightly from this year’s 12 percent in the school’s population overall.

School officials said it will take time to build momentum and they have taken steps this year to build awareness among disadvantaged communities about the opportunity that the exam schools present their children.

“You can’t do this in one year,” said Contompasis. “It’s not going to happen this year and it’s not going to happen next year. But I think that it’s doable.”

The disparity in diversity became a concern last year after black students exposed racial tensions and harassment through a social media campaign called “#BlackatBLS.” The latest admissions numbers continue to disappoint advocates who say that school officials, who have spent years strategizing on how to close the achievement gap districtwide, are still not acting with urgency.

“It hasn’t gone far enough. The district seems to be hesitant to really target underrepresented groups,” said longtime educator Barbara Fields. She and about 30 other educators, parents, and activists have launched Boston Network for Black Student Achievement, a group that plans to pressure the schools to more aggressively focus on disparities in the system.

“What we feel is needed is for the district to really take that seriously and put some real will behind it,” Fields said.

The school district focused on expanding the Exam School Initiative, the academic boot camp held at Boston Latin every summer. That program was created in 2000 after court rulings forced the schools to stop using race as a criterion for admissions. Volunteers, concerned about the sudden drop in diversity that followed, began reaching out to black and Latino families to boost awareness and find recruits, then groom students to take the entrance exams.

The program was free and never racially exclusive. But over time, recruitment of minority students ended. By 2014, the program aimed at diversifying had itself become racially skewed: 72 percent of participants were white and Asian, while only 10 percent were black, and 14 percent, Latino.

“That program itself was broken,” said Colin Rose, Boston Public Schools assistant superintendent for opportunity and achievement gaps. “It was opening up the achievement gap.”

Last year, officials expanded the program beyond its maximum 450 students, chosen for their top standardized test scores. An additional 300 seats were created for students who didn’t make the cut on tests but demonstrated promise or grit.

Though the outreach didn’t directly target black and Latino students, it went after the schools they were attending that weren’t sending many candidates to the initiative.

No one had expected an immediate fix to a stubborn societal problem. Still, some observers were disappointed that the district didn’t aim higher or propose more sweeping changes.


California professor bans college Republicans from Women's History Month events

The Orange Coast Republicans Club have filed a formal complaint against Orange Coast College professor Jessica Ayo Alabi for preventing Republican students from attending public events on campus. According to the club, three of its members were shut out of the African-American/Women's round table discussion in the Multicultural Center hosted for Women's History Month in March of 2017.

On May 16, the OCC Republicans Club was made aware of an email written by Alabi to various campus officials, in it stating that she prevented the students from attending the event because they belonged to the club. In the email she also stated, "If the college will not stand up to the Republicans club, I have decided to stand up for myself and other students."

According to OCC Republicans, college president Dennis Harkins spoke with Alabi, notifying her that she did not have the right to block conservative students from attending college events open to the public. However, the club says this doesn't go far enough, since she's done this in the past for other events.

The OCC Republicans sent a letter to Harkin with the following demands to prevent conservatives from being discriminated against in the future:

1. That an investigation be opened, or reopened, into Jessica Alibi discriminating against Republican club members, and conservative students as self-reported by her via public email to you.

2. That upon the completion of the investigation if it's proven that Professor Alabi discriminated against students on the basis of their ideological viewpoint and party affiliation that, at the least, she be suspended from teaching for two non-intersession semesters at Orange Coast College, and if possible as well as the Coast Community College District, and be permitted to return after that suspension once she's attended an in-depth training on student's rights and preventing viewpoint discrimination, as well as be required to write a one page long apology letter to the OCC Republicans and the members effected by her actions.

3. That President Harkins write a letter to the Board of Trustees supporting the revision and ratification of board policy changes proposed by our club in early April to the Board of Trustees that would amend current district policies to protect students from discrimination on the basis of political affiliations and ideological beliefs .

4. That Orange Coast College will take measures to start, or improve, training for faculty and staff on how to respect students' rights, viewpoints, and be trained on what viewpoint discrimination is to prevent future instances.

This isn't the first time the college has been hit with this type of complaint. In December, a professor's anti-Trump rant went viral after a student posted it to the Web.

Alabi is an instructor of sociology and gender studies at the college. She did not respond to requests for comment.


Sheer Lunacy on Campus

Walter E. Williams

Parents, taxpayers and donors have little idea of the levels of lunacy, evil and lawlessness that have become features of many of today's institutions of higher learning. Parents, taxpayers and donors who ignore or are too lazy to find out what goes on in the name of higher education are nearly as complicit as the professors and administrators who promote or sanction the lunacy, evil and lawlessness. As for the term "institutions of higher learning," we might start asking: Higher than what? Let's look at a tiny sample of academic lunacy.

During a campus debate, Purdue University professor David Sanders argued that a logical extension of pro-lifers' belief that fetuses are human beings is that pictures of "a butt-naked body of a child" are child pornography. Clemson University's chief diversity officer, Lee Gill, who's paid $185,000 a year to promote inclusion, provided a lesson claiming that to expect certain people to be on time is racist.

To reduce angst among snowflakes in its student body, the University of California, Hastings College of the Law has added a "Chill Zone." The Chill Zone, located in its library, has, just as most nursery schools have, mats for naps and beanbag chairs. Before or after a snooze, students can also use the space to do a bit of yoga or meditate. The University of Michigan Law School helped its students weather their Trump derangement syndrome — a condition resulting from Donald Trump's election — by enlisting the services of an "embedded psychologist" in a room full of bubbles and play dough. To reduce pressure on law students, Joshua M. Silverstein, a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, thinks that "every American law school ought to substantially eliminate C grades and set its good academic standing grade point average at the B- level."

Today's academic climate might be described as a mixture of infantilism, kindergarten and totalitarianism. The radicals, draft dodgers and hippies of the 1960s who are now college administrators and professors are responsible for today's academic climate. The infantilism should not be tolerated, but more important for the future of our nation are the totalitarianism and the hate-America lessons being taught at many of the nation's colleges. For example, led by its student government leader, the University of California, Irvine's student body voted for a motion, which the faculty approved, directing that the American flag not be on display because it makes some students uncomfortable and creates an unsafe, hostile environment. The flag is a symbol of hate speech, according to the student government leader. He said that the U.S. flag is just as offensive as Nazi and Islamic State flags and that the U.S. is the world's most evil nation.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, New York University provost Ulrich Baer argued: "The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community." That's a vision that is increasingly being adopted on college campuses, and it's leaking down to our primary and secondary levels of education. Baer apparently believes that the test for one's commitment to free speech comes when he balances his views with those of others. His vision justifies the violent disruptions of speeches by Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College, Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley and Charles Murray at Middlebury College. Baer's vision is totalitarian nonsense. The true test of one's commitment to free speech comes when he permits people to be free to say and write those things he finds deeply offensive.

Americans who see themselves as either liberal or conservative should rise up against this totalitarian trend on America's college campuses. I believe the most effective way to do so is to hit these campus tyrants where it hurts the most — in the pocketbook. Lawmakers should slash budgets, and donors should keep their money in their pockets.


1 comment:

London Dairy said...

It seems that all maths undergraduates go
through the same notions!

I think one of the biggest mistakes
that I made as an undergrad was
accrediting more to “genius” than
hard work.

Nice post. :)