Three Out Of Four African-American Boys In California Fail To Meet Minimal Reading and Writing Standards

download-1The latest data from the California Department of Education indicates that three out of four African-American failed to meet reading and writing standards.  We have previously discussed how our schools continue to fail to educate minority students despite large budgetary allotments.  The problem is clearly money.  I have long advocated more funding but schools must also be held accountable for this appalling performance.  These kids are entering society with a huge disadvantage in seeking employment and advancement.

Boys generally are lagging behind girls but the scores are alarming among African American males.  For example, in the fourth grade, nearly 80 percent of black boys failed to meet state reading standards. You read that correctly: Eighty percent.


The gender gap is a continuing focus of teachers but the priority must be to address the dismal performance of African  American males.  These schools are spending a huge amount with little to show for results.  That suggests that the teachers or the program or both must be re-evaluated.

What do you think?

165 thoughts on “Three Out Of Four African-American Boys In California Fail To Meet Minimal Reading and Writing Standards”

  1. The information now requires a complete rethink in how we are raising boys from infancy. The belief boys should be strong allows for more aggressive treatment as early as one year of age, designed to create more layers of anger, agitation, fear, and tension, so they will be prepared to fight, defend, and be tough. This is coupled with “much less” kind, stable, (very little kind verbal interaction), and much less mental/emotional support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling. It is this more aggressive, less supportive treatment, which creates the toughness or extra maintained layers of average stress: anger, fear, preparation for defense, anxiety, etc. These layers remain in the mind and take away real mental energy from academics, so those boys will have to work two or three times as hard to receive the same mental reward for work expended.
    This more aggressive, less supportive treatment creates more social/emotional distance/distrust of others – parents, teachers, peers, and others in society. It creates lags in social vocabulary, less knowledge of syntax and other communication we as girls are given on a more continuous basis. It creates higher average stress, which creates more activity for stress relief (not genetics but environmentally created). The higher average stress also creates higher muscle tension, which hurts handwriting: more pressure on the pencil and a much tighter grip, hurting handwriting and motivation to write (too much pressure tighter grip causing early fatigue).
    The total effect including less care and support creates much more failure and a feeling of hopelessness, especially with our false genetic models firmly in place. Also to make it even tougher for boys is the granting of love and honor (feelings of self-worth) only on some condition of achievement, status, or image. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low to keep them striving and even be willing to give their lives in time of war for small measures of love and honor from society. Males not achieving in school are other areas are given more ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given boys for fear of coddling. Many boys (as you would expect) thus falling behind in school then turn their attention to sports and video games to gleam small measures of love and honor not received in the classroom. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics creates a blatant mental denial of the differential treatment, which is creating the lower academics, lower esteem, and other problems many boys are facing today. So strong is the belief boys should be strong there is an almost emotional cannibalism allowed upon boys and men who appear weak in some way by society: parents, teachers, others, even from many girls and women, especially in the media.
    Note, this is not about showing feelings or openness from boys and men, it is about support, care, and respect for boys even when appearing weak in some way. Remember aggressive treatment is increased for any sign of weakness and the much wariness boys feel for parent and teachers who feel it necessary and more freely allowed to use more aggressiveness for any sign of weakness or vulnerability. This is condoned by many in society today.
    As for reading, we need high social vocabulary, much social interaction – experience with sentence structure and “lower average stress” to perform and enjoy the abstract skill of reading: decoding, visualizing, organizing, reaching into their social vocabulary/knowledge of words to learn new words in print, and enjoy the process. Boys are deprived in these areas due to much less care, verbal interaction, and much more aggressive treatment. As for writing, we also need much social vocabulary to understand, plan, and to put words into print. We also need lower average stress to create more ease of writing. The higher average stress creates significant higher muscle tension, which then creates a much tighter grip and much more pressure on their pen or pencil. This creates both poor handwriting and early fatigue. This kills off their motivation to write, hence more two and three word sentences from boys with and less motivation to write.
    As girls we are treated much better and so enjoy more hope and care from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment, much more continual, positive – mental, social/emotional support, verbal interaction and care from an early age onward, this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls when compared with the boys. We enjoy much more care and support and care from society from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We enjoy lower average stress for more ease of learning. We enjoy much more freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look more unstable at times. Of course we can also use that same freedom of expression to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness/patronization to our Male peers with impunity knowing we are protected. We enjoy much lower muscle tension for more ease and ability in handwriting and motivation to write. We enjoy much more positive, trust/communication from parents, teachers, peers, and more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. The lower the socioeconomic bracket the much more amplified the differential treatment from infancy and more differentiated over time through adulthood. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society, we are enjoying even more lavishing of love and honor from society, while the boys and men are now failing more so and are now given even more ridicule and abuse by society. Mind you, this is also now coming from many girls and women using our still protected freedoms of expression and more so with false feelings of superiority. My learning theory will go to all

  2. I agree with some other posters – this is NOT about money. It is culture. I have volunteered locally in a literacy program with black kids and it was enlightening – these kids might as well be living in Uganda as they are not part of the “norm” – no books at home, no fathers, barely able to complete a sentence in an ordinary conversation. BUT BUT BUT they are bright and curious. I think it’s a combination that keeps them down – home culture and school. I wish I could figure a way to solve this.

  3. “We are throwing good money after bad!”

    Is America providing basic education or saving the world?

    Neither. America is redistributing wealth to striking teachers unions.

    The only consistent aspect of public education is

    absurd and increasing pay for striking teachers

    and free “daycare” and meals for freeloaders.

    Close the Dept. of Education.

    Terminate public worker unions.

    Localize education. Digitize education. Automate education.

    Give every child one shot at free education in local schools.

    All of you bleeding-heart-liberals go start a charity/orphanage

    in the free markets of the private sector – you might succeed –

    you might become famous.

    Is that what you’re looking for?

    Go talk to your pastor.

    At some point, parents have to be held responsible for their children.

    At some point, rationality must be applied to spending.

    At some point, free Americans must be given relief from onerous

    and punitive taxation for the purposes of redistribution.

  4. “The problem is clearly money.”

    Do you have any evidence for this?

  5. No, more funding will not fix the problem. If current funding does not achieve the desired result, then clearly the money is not going towards effective teaching activity. Redirecting the funding is part of the solution. In addition, no amount of money will create motivation to learn in the hearts and minds of young students. The key question is how to encourage young students to have a thirst for learning. Teachers who think their job is to teach as opposed to ensuring their students learn is a problem. How do we find more teachers who can maintain the internal fire for many years to pull their students to learn? I wish I had the answers.

  6. The solution is NOT money. This is the red-herring that is thrown out to suggest why these students lag all others. The problem is absolutely the decay of the moral and familial structure required for these children to match those who have superior moral and familial structure. This requires that we all be honest and claim boldly that children are served best by having 2 married parents who have completed high school and established a modicum of stability in their work-life. Until we admit that fact there is no amount of money the schools can have that will help. Indeed we have increased expenditures against this population and there has been little improvement. We are throwing good money after bad!

  7. It is heartbreaking to see African-American boys doing so poorly. What everyone seems to be avoiding is that we are asking our schools to not only be schools, but also to ameliorate non-school handicaps that young African-American boys face. Issues related to single-parent families, poverty, “street cred,” rap and gangsta culture, other African-American peer-group members accusing successful African-American students of “acting white” are all serious problems that impact this group and contribute to their poor performance. Focusing on schools, school budgets will never resolve problems that are not related to the school environment or school budgets. Let us recognize the panoply of problems these children face and not focus on schools exclusively

  8. Okay, I’ll try again. My last comment got lost.

    The *average* IQ of American (self-identified) Blacks is 84-88 depending on study. However, it is only an average. Any given black student cannot and should not be judged by his or her skin color.

    There are black intellectual giants; Thomas Sowell and Neil Degrasse Tyson come quickly to mind.

    Why on this green Earth are those who cannot pass 3rd grade called 4th graders?

    What is the testing statistic for *all* students who have 84-88 IQ?

    If it is the same for all individuals with the same IQ (boys, girls, black, asian, white, muslim and jewish) then it may be no problem at all.

    Imagine you are a teacher of 4th grade and some students have not passed 3rd grade but are given a “social promotion.” In a group schooling situation of a wide mix of students the low and high end of the bell curve suffer.

    Everyone is not created equal! They should be equal before the law. They should be judged by the same standards in education. Do not expect equal results. They should be judged by the same standards in sports. They should be judged by the same standards in every single employment.

    Teach, as Sal Khan recommends, *mastery* before going on to the next step. If a 4th grade student reads at a so-called 1st grade level, then meet him there. If a 4th grade student reads at the so-called 8th grade level meet him there, too. Do not group by age. Should the 14 year old black boy who just graduated with his bachelor’s degree have been held back? Each learning track should be taught separately.

    Equal opportunity to succeed or fail does not guarantee equal results. Judge each individual. Test each individual. That is what life does when not in a socialized society. In a fair society no one at all is paid for not working. No unemployment compensation. No welfare. Only private citizens being generous.

    1. Salman Khan is awesome. His site Khan Academy is excellent and I enjoyed his One World Schoolhouse book, too.

    2. Retired professor:

      I think what you say has some merit but is not very helpful in addressing the problem for this group of under-performers. We all know people are not equal in anything except before the law and that averages tell us very little about individuals. If, as you say, A-As are under-performers we have to look to root causes. I did see a study where A-A children placed in Caucasian homes did perform at or near Caucasian student levels. I have to ask why this occurs and I believe that culture has something to do with it though I don’t exclude other environmental factors. I simply ask for more data before deciding it’s the school’s fault. If there exists some cultural road block we ought to identify it and work to remove it. I surely don’t have the answers but we can say with high certainty that more money and more attention to the problem is not working despite JT’s implicit inference in his last sentence that it does: “That suggests that the teachers or the program or both must be re-evaluated.” That’s a group-think answer which implies that the solution lies only with the schools and/or their programs. I think it’s deeper and more ingrained that just freshly painted classrooms or more laptops in inner city schools.

      1. Yes, mespo, the physical plant improvement is not an answer.

        What would be the answer? I don’t know. I am an expert in my field which is not education. It is computer science. I don’t know. I know that is hard to say. But someone who is an expert in education does know. And there is another expert who knows better.

        Let the market decide. Let all different education systems have their shot. Get the rigidity of government regulation out of the education business. You can know in advance that government does not consist of experts in education, economics, war, energy production, farming, textile manufacture nor healthcare nor the internet.

        Government control of X is guaranteed to make it more expensive than the market. “Price supports” for farmers raises prices for consumers. Payments to single mothers raises prices for everyone else. (And, leads to more unwed mothers because there is no economic penalty.) I knew the Affordable Care Act had to make healthcare more expensive. Minimum wage means there will be more people unemployed because they are not able to contribute value since they are really worth less.

        Obama and Trump both think that government can do something beneficial for the country. Not true. Everything government touches costs more than the same thing done in the market. Sure, someone benefits. Favored companies. Favored groups. But these are not all companies nor all groups.

        When one industry is favored other industries suffer. Governments are never cost conscious; they are spending other people’s money. They have no skin in the game.

        Treating everything the same is outside the mindset of government employees.
        If the federal tax system was to charge one rate to all state’s GDP that would be simple, fair, and take an IRS of 200 people. No one in government wants that! One 10% tariff for all goods crossing our border would be simple, fair, and make customs rules easy. (These are the “excises” and “duties” found in the constitution.)

        The government comes in and pays people with the bad judgment to build their house on a hurricane prone coast. The homeowners do not suffer loss so they build there again. Farmers in tornado alley get no such government relief.

        When the government police become ineffective the rich live behind walls with private police.

        I don’t know what it should be for you. The government pretends to know and proves repeatedly that that is wrong.

        Is man-made catastrophic global warming coming? I don’t know. But I know for damn sure that the most effective way of dealing with it is not government involvement.

        Tax only spending, not income. Let the private charities take care of social security as they did before 1913. Let the banks possibly go broke. Let any industry go broke. Let each parent decide what they are willing to pay for their child’s education, not someone else. Bad education systems will lose out to better ones. There is no such thing as success without the possibility of failure. Every government program that fails is “reformed” with more regulation. The “Federal” Reserve is a failure.

        How to explore space effectively? No one knows. But a hundred firms risking their own capital will.

        How to feed nine billion people? No one knows. But a million farmers risking their own capital do.

        How to X? No individual nor government knows. But a large number of people attempting to be billionaires do.

        How to have a stable currency? Make exactly one product or service have a permanent price. An ounce of gold, OR a bushel of wheat, OR an hour of unskilled labor, OR a gram of uranium 238, OR a pound of silver (it was done once), OR a coffee bean, OR a pound of copper, OR almost anything as long as just ONE product is regulated PERMANENTLY. Then the dollar would be “sound as a dollar.”

        Disband all government unions. The government has no skin in the game so a union negotiating with a government makes no sense. Allow all private unions which negotiate with those who pay their salary out of their own pocket.

        I don’t know the answer to the education problem of black America. You don’t either. No single individual nor group of intellectuals does. But a million educators pursuing their self interest do.

        1. I’m not quite the raging capitalist you are and have less faith than you in the marketplace. I’m more of an Adam Smith kinda capitalist a’la “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.”

          1. The only time “raging capitalism” fails is when those who are affected are not local. If it is pollution that is airborne or dumped into the sea or lake or river affecting other states this is a truly national interest. If it is within a state it should be the concern of that state. Situations like pollution are rare.

            1. But situations like public goods aren’t. Capitalism utterly fails here where necessary items will not be funded except through mandates.

        1. adopted children generally have an IQ around their birth parents (not their adopted parents).

          So you say there’s a chance yet for my 8 year old adopted son!? 😉

        2. I think that is true but I was comparing environmental factors relating to education. I think they play a major role in education.

      2. There are plenty of environmental factors the book How Children Succeed explores somewhat.

        Chronic stress (noise, pollution and other toxins, poor parenting, violence witnessed and experienced, poor sleep, etc) impairs executive function and induces inflammation in the body that affects concentration.

        A diet high in processed foods also affects cellular function and thus organ function. Memory and impulse control are both affected by fatty acid and micro nutrient deficiencies.

  9. DAVID,

    On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 12:08 AM, JONATHAN TURLEY wrote:

    > jonathanturley posted: “The latest data from the California Department of > Education indicates that three out of four African-American failed to meet > reading and writing standards. We have previously discussed how our > schools continue to fail to educate minority students despite” >

  10. Boy hating feminists run the Education Industry. In supposedly liberal Madison, WI. a righteous, black/male leader tried to set up a charter school for black/males to address this travesty. The hairy legged, feminist, Educrats shot it down. Read The War Against Boys by Christine Hoff Somers. Required reading if you have a young son or grandson.

    1. There are far too many women in education and too few men. While predominantly male organizations lack empathy, predominant female ones wallow in it. That’s the reason we need a healthy mix to downplay the extremes of either gender’s thought pattern.

      1. True. And that wallowing begets nothing but pity and idleness. Which is why I blame Liberal Democrats for enabling the lower class blacks to wallow around in victimology mode. Often enablers enable more for their own emotional needs, rather than for the person they supposedly care for.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. They don’t care about them. They care about their liberal street cred for compassion. The kind that does no good.

      2. It’s not that they wallow in empathy. It’s that organizations without much competition and without robust operational measures of competence are vulnerable to subtle subversion of their goals. What happens to schools, social work agencies, and libraries is that the top priority comes to be to help gatekeeper employees feel better about themselves in various ways. The next priority is to contain the trouble caused by squeaky wheels. The result is institutions which are chronically underperforming in the service of their core mission. Schools are demographically dominated by women (something inevitable at the elementary level), so their underperformance has certain signature features.

      3. I often say balance is the key, something our culture has lost. The male dominated Catholic Church rape scandal showed us what male domination looks like.

        1. Nick:

          You know I’m a “Golden Mean” kinda guy from way back infuriating both conservatives and liberals alike as I careen down the middle.

        2. “I often say balance is the key, something our culture has lost.”

          Nick, I heartily agree.

  11. Academic performance is as much cultural as operational. In many homes, education is valued little if at all and the results for the kids of that environment are predictable. I have no idea about the culture of education in African-American homes having read no studies or lived in one, but I have read studies about Asian-American culture which emphasizes their valuing of education. This aspect seems to engender higher test scores across the board even controlling for things like poverty, poor school facilities and discrimination. I’d suggest we quit blaming everything on the operational side and start looking to the cultural side to see if that leads to better results.

    1. Careful, Nick. The word-police went after Maher and now you for quoting A-A comedienne, Chris Rock, for that bugaboo “N-word.” Amazing the thought of not being able to say anything you want in this country because your fellow citizens will shoot you down. Sometimes literally.

      1. mespo, I will always use “nigger” when I’m quoting a black person using it. It should come as no shock that I could give a rat’s ass what SJW word police think and say.

    2. Academic performance is as much cultural as operational. In many homes, education is valued little if at all and the results for the kids of that environment are predictable.

      Mike Royko was once asked his thoughts on the ‘crisis in education’. He offered he was not distressed about the subject. “If someone wants to spend their life slicking corned beef, that’s OK. They’ll be a job out there for him”. Thomas Sowell has at times taken a similar tack. Sowell’s upset has concerned the decline of opportunities for slum kids who take an interest in academics (which he contends was already manifest in his old neighborhood high school as early as 1956).

  12. The problem isn’t money. It’s also not culture. The problem is that people like Mr. Turley are ignoring the wise words of Philip K. Dick: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

    Which doesn’t mean we should stop trying. It does mean we need to redefine failure.

    1. Which I read somewhere, that a wag wanted to change the idiom to, “You don’t know Philip!” when someone lacked understanding. I bought one of his books after seeing The Man in the High Castle. It is called The Exegesis of Philip K Dick. But it is a very hard read, and pretty much just good as a bathroom book, which you can read a few pages in at a time. IMO.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. educationrealist has his own blog and is a frequent participant in these sorts of disputes. I assume he has some sort of alert set up since he’s not a regular here. He advances one thesis: that the extant schools and teacher corps perform optimally (or would if it weren’t for the meddlesome federal education department) and are trained optimally. The one problem is school administrations in thrall to outside agencies, who won’t remove truculent youth from the premises. One tic of his is to make reference in an authoritative fashion to studies of this or that, but not to provide any bibliography. He has some subsidiary contentions (e.g. that it’s illegitimate for police officers to retire at 55 but legitimate for schoolteachers to retire at 59). He also denies he’s a union steward.

  13. As a mother, this absolutely breaks my heart.

    “The problem is clearly money. I have long advocated more funding but schools must also be held accountable for this appalling performance.” I disagree with the assertion that the problem is money. And your subsequent statement seems to cast doubt on that yourself. As it stands, the schools are not held accountable for performance.

    My son attends a small charter school. It has very little money because it has a small number of students. The public school system has fought its charter every step of the way, and may one day get it shut down. The parents chip in to help out at the school, paint, work on the library, work on the grounds, and fix the parking area (which is considered a wetland by the idiot EPA and Clean Water Act because it is not perfectly flat and there’s a little ditch where rain runs off.)

    And yet, our kids outperform the public schools on testing. My first grader has given talks, presentations, and written business proposals while the public school kids are working on capital letters. They don’t give any presentations at the public school until 7th grade, according to the parents. The expectation at the school is that parents are expected to be involved. You are expected to read to your child every night, help him with his reading, help them learn their spelling words, etc.

    Meanwhile, the public school has all these building projects going on, beautiful grounds, new fences, remodels…(Can you hear my envy at the funding?) And yet, they are not doing a fraction of what my kid is doing in school. And yet they have so very much more money.

    Based on what I have read, and in my own experience, the biggest factor determining a child’s success in school is if the parent is involved. If the teacher sends home a list of spelling words, and the parent does nothing, then the kid is going to get a zero on the test. But if the parent spends the evenings going over them, then the kid will do well. And he’ll learn how to plan in advance for tests and homework. In that vein, every summer I update his Singapore Math and All About Reading program to chip away at during the break. We go to the library and check out educational videos. (He learned to tell time in half an hour last summer from a library video. They’ve got fun stuff!)

    If minorities are disproportionately poor, then parents might not be available to help kids with homework, which will lead to less successful kids, and those kids will disproportionately grow up to be poor. I think that any kid, of any color, shape, and size, who is struggling in school should have access to programs like tutoring and other academic help. How do poor moms get their kids to the library, and take advantage of the educational programs out there to do on the side during summer? Rather than focus on skin color, I would rather focus on need. Not all kids have parents who either have the time or interest to help them in school. I’ve known middle class kids whose parents never lifted a finger. They flunked every homework assignment until they were old enough to figure it out on their own. On the other hand, my father taught me how to read because my older brother suffered through the last ruinous educational experiment where they moved away from phonetics. My Dad was so disgusted at the mess that he taught me to read himself, not trusting the school to puzzle it out.

    And part and parcel of parental involvement is the plague of single motherhood that has hit the African American community the hardest. Unless you are a wealthy actress or socialite, the surest path to a lifetime of poverty, as well as a lifetime of poverty for your children, is to become a single mother. Statistically, it is undeniable that this vastly increases the risk of the child living in poverty, doing drugs, engaging in crime, joining a gang, going to jail, and dying early…sometimes all of the above consecutively. And yet, inexplicably, single motherhood is on the rise in many demographics, but most especially the African American community. You would think that once the public became aware that becoming a single mother would make you and your kids poor for life, that kids would wholeheartedly reject that path for their future. But they are not. They are jumping in with both feet to a ruinous path. Why? Pearl Cleague wrote about this frustration in her book, I Wish I Had a Red Dress. There is this extreme peer pressure to ruin your life. I don’t know how to fix that. But I hope that this trend reverses.

    In any case, it’s not always about the money. It’s about the parents. It’s about the quality of education at the school. And sometimes it’s about the socioeconomic status of the parents. I dislike the emphasis on skin color in programs. A kid is a kid in my eyes, regardless of his or her natural state of tan.

    Here is a disheartening article on the multigenerational disability beneficiaries in poor rural areas, especially West Virginia. This family is white. Tell me these kids aren’t completely screwed. Are they getting help with tests they’ve failed as they play their video games?

    1. Sorry to disagree, but “helping the kids with their homework” is not what made my siblings and I strive to learn. The promise of parental disappointment and discipline is what made us strive. Just saying.

        1. Squeeky – look up the lattice method of multiplication via Common Core. Be prepared to be horrified.

          And I have seen the exact same problems that you’ve linked to on my son’s first grade homework. Common Core is required in CA, sadly.

          I showed him how to add numbers by lining them up vertically, including how to carry the one. They can teach him number bonds, and how to make tens, and use a horizontal tape diagram. But I’m still going to teach him how to add.

      1. Good point. That counts as parental involvement, too.

        I remember when I got a B in English once, my father looked so disappointed. He asked me if it was because I didn’t have a computer. (This was years ago when computers were first breaking out as a home tool.) It was like he blamed himself for my B. I was so upset that I’d disappointed him that I don’t think I ever got a B again in high school.

    2. Karen, I have news for you. About 55% of the first born children in this country are born out of wedlock. Some are legitimated post-partum, some are not. Some are born to married parents, but into households which incorporate the issue of the mother’s previous trysts. You’re brain is addled with images of Ignorance and Want in A Christmas Carol. That’s not the world we actually live in.

      About 30% of the population is quite impecunious in the sense that when they pay for staples, they haven’t much left and they’re dependent on common provision for their medical care. What’s available for them to purchase, however, is of considerably better quality than what was available to their grand-parents at a similar spot in the social strata. When you talk about ‘poverty’, it does not have the meaning it did in 1928. Remember Bonnie and Clyde? Read about the slum they grew up in (and recall that Bonnie Parker attended high school and wrote poetry in her spare time).

      The real problem you have is decadence and disorder. People in every stratum know much of the former, but the latter really plagues only the 10% or so who live in urban slums. Wringing your hands at wearying length will not repair that problem. Vigorous application of law enforcement will accomplish a great deal.

    3. And yet, inexplicably, single motherhood is on the rise in many demographics, but most especially the African American community

      Rip Van Karen, I see you fell asleep in 1978 and have just awakened. The frequency of b******y hit a plateau among whites about 7 years ago, among blacks about 20 years ago. The probability of divorce is actually lower than it was 35 years ago.

      [Memo to Darren Smith: the spam filter used here is not quite da pits. It’s working at it, though].

  14. Mr. Turley says, “We have previously discussed how our schools continue to fail to educate minority students despite large budgetary allotments. The problem is clearly money.” How can Mr. Turley say that large budgets have been thrown at the “problem” but that the problem is still money. The problem is not money. We have some of the highest per pupil costs in the developed world. Why do other groups do well in the same classrooms if the problem is simply money? Something happens in the classroom that allows these kids to skate from one year to the next. Say it isn’t so, Joe!

  15. Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical pattern is called the trivium.

      1. 🙂 One of the things that disappointed me most when completing my Education degree requirements was just how student-focused public education had become. Focusing so much attention on the needs, and often times this is special needs, of individual students, conditions other students as well that they too can get special attention. This student first model makes it nearly impossible to maintain education standards and certainly quantify comparative effectiveness from one year to another.

        The classical education (Trivium) model does not bend to the needs of the individual students. It requires the student (and parents) to commit to this learning process. To keep it secular, instead of the current education model where the Sun (world) revolves around the Earth (individual), in the Trivium model, the Earth revolves around the Sun. In other words, the student develops a more absolute worldview.

    1. That might be of interest to the minority passably adapted to academic education. I know Mortimer Adler thought half-a-pint of Plato was better than a pint of auto repair. He still needed his car fixed, and perhaps some appreciation of how futile academics seems to most people.

      As late as 1929, the majority of students between the ages of 14 and 18 were not enrolled in secondary programs of any kind. Bog standard for youths from wage-earning families was to leave school at 14 for work. As late as 1980, just north of 20% of each cohort obtained baccalaureate degrees (now it’s north of 40%). We used to get along with much less formal schooling than we now shove into the young.

      1. I agree that post-secondary education is not as necessary as it is made out to be. Trivium however is a model for primary and secondary education.

        I attended public education and graduated high school in 1978. I was a C student and was accepted to a university in Wisconsin. I had no business being there both academically and maturity-wise. Without going into the details, I managed to behave and fail my way out of school after one semester. One month later I was no longer in Wisconsin but in Orlando for Navy boot camp. Within 4 years and once I got on shore duty, I went back to school at the University of San Diego. I taught at night for the Navy and went to school during the day. I took 4 classes at a time and carried a 4.0 gpa. What I discovered is my public education didn’t teach me how to learn. The Navy taught me how to learn (don’t learn and your chipping paint for 4 years) and how to think. Of course they also taught me how to be disciplined.

        Right now, I would consider hiring any graduate from a classical education school and any veteran with 2 years active duty, before I would consider hiring a college graduate.

        1. Great story about motivation and learning how to learn, Olly.

          I used to work with a former Army Paratrooper. He went to college after he got out, too. He said that the Army requires you to conform to a strict classroom etiquette. At all times, his right hand was on his pencil poised to write, his left hand was resting on his thigh, and eyes on the teacher. At all times. When he got out and started attending university, his professor actually asked him to stop that, move around a little, and to please look somewhere else, anywhere else. He was making him nervous with all that focused attention. Imagine, a student paying attention for the whole class was so abnormal that it made the professor nervous!

        2. My father always said that there was nothing like a drill instructor, or an angry sergeant, to focus your attention. He was a career military person, and he said every kid in the country ought to have to do mandatory service for at least two years.

          He ran a tight ship at our house. Or, should I say a tight plane???

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

        3. I agree that post-secondary education is not as necessary as it is made out to be. Trivium however is a model for primary and secondary education.

          No, it’s a model for primary and secondary education for a minority – 45% tops. The young need to know English grammar and algebra. Appending education for civic purposes will do, though for most it will go in one ear and out the other.

          1. DSS,
            You have this annoying habit of saying no and then justifying your no with facts that were never presented or in dispute. I never stated any percentage that learn under the trivium model; just the fact it is for primary/secondary education.

            1. You have this annoying habit of saying no and then justifying your no with facts that were never presented or in dispute.

              You’ve acquired an annoying habit of pretending when you say something, there are no implications to be drawn from bar those in black letters.

              1. No, it’s a model for primary and secondary education for a minority – 45% tops.

                Did I pretend you said that statement? The bold black letters were you conjuring up an argument that was never presented.

                Nicely done!

                1. No, you did not. You’re pretense, in this case, is that in calling something ‘a model for primary and secondary education’ you meant (or could be interpreted to mean) something other than ‘a general model’.

                  I have no clue why you’re kvetching about this, except that that’s how you roll. If it was your initial understanding that Bauer’s material is not for everyone, you needn’t have responded at all.

                  1. Your 10:42am post presented many reasonable arguments for replacing the current public school franchise with other options.

                    As for the rest, tuition-free schools run by incorporated philanthropies and financed by vouchers issued by the county government should be the order of the day.

                    I took your lead and introduced the classical liberal education model (Trivium) as an alternative option for primary and secondary education that is in use today.

                    If it was your initial understanding that Bauer’s material is not for everyone, you needn’t have responded at all.

                    If that was my initial understanding then perhaps that’s true. However there was no such if stated or implied.

                    Anyway, I need to go kvetch on another thread, because that’s how I roll.

      2. I know Mortimer Adler!!! I have a set of books that my father gave me, (I didn’t even steal these!) called The Great Books, and there is this 10 volume part of it where he tries to convince you to read Sir Isaac Newton and Galen. Boy, “addler” was sure an appropriate last name!

        He gave my sister the same set. And he told us don’t you ever tell me you’re bored and don’t have anything to do unless you have read all these books. Which I have read a few of them, but I could see that if a person really did read the whole bunch of them, it would sure improve their brain power. Plus, there is like the best resource in the whole world for writing papers called The Synopticon in them, which is like 2 or 3 volumes that indexes every idea in the known universe to the rest of the books, sooo if you are writing a paper about Romeo and Juliet, you can look up “love”, and there are like a million quotes you can find from Aristotle to Freud. My teachers were really impressed by stuff like that.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

    2. There is a free catalog of homeschooling resources at the library. They have resources for all kinds of educational models. Classical education is one of my favorites. It’s trained the best minds for hundreds of years.

      Memorization has been out of vogue for a while, but it’s like an apprenticeship for developing your mind. We were designed to build knowledge in stages.

      Even if you do not homeschool, as I do not, such catalogs are wonderful resources for parents looking to keep school current during the summer break. Or if your kid is struggling in any area, there are resources that can help.

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