Monday, October 26, 2009

Kids' Math Scores are Fine

"Fewer than four of 10 fourth- and eighth-graders are proficient in mathematics, according to a highly regarded federal test given in early 2009, adding to recent evidence that the US drive to become more economically competitive by overhauling public education may be falling short. ... Significant scoring gaps between white students and their Hispanic and African-American peers also haven't changed much in recent years, the test results showed. ... In December, the US and other nations released results of an international test, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, indicating that US math students have made gains in recent years but still trail their peers in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan", my emphasis, Robert Tomsho at the WSJ, 15 October 2009, link:

"The media love disaster. ... But the most obvious, perilous, and, most preventable catastrophe looming on America's horizon is one that the media and political class refuse to talk about. ... One great, avoidable evil we face is the declining quality of the American work force. The Census Bureau tells us that if immigration continues at is current rate of nearly two million people a year, whites will become a minority of the under-18 child population in just 14 years--in 2023--and will become a minority of the working population just 16 years later. ... Demographers are beginning to warn that as well-educated, white baby boomers retire and are replaced by poorly educated blacks and Hispanics, the productivity gains of the last several hundred years will be reversed, and the [US] could go into a tailspin. .... Irwin Kirsh [of ETS] ... warns that our increasingly non-white and immigrant workforce threatens not only our standard of living, but the very survival of republican government based on an informed middle class. ... However, the graduation rate slightly decreases for the second US-born generation (85.1 percent vs. 85.9 percent), so that in 2007, even after three generations in the [US], Hispanics had a dropout rate that was still 2.3 times the white rate and 33 percent higher than the black rate. ... In Detroit, only 26.8 percent of students graduated on time in 2006. The other worst performers were Philadelphia: 39.1 percent, Dallas: 40.7 percent, Los Angeles: 47.7 percent, and Washington, DC: 48.8 percent. ... Hispanics who stay in school do badly. ... Hispanics are the least likely group to go to college. ... Again, the problem is not just one of adapting to the [US]. College graduation rates for US-born Hispanics are only slightly better than those for immigrants, and Hispanics who have been in the country for three generations or more are still less likely even than blacks for graduate from college. ... This rise in income will reverse as black, Hispanic, and immigrant workers replace whites. California will be particularly hard hit because of its large Hispanic population. ... According to a 2007 report from the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 400,000 legal immigrants and 350,000 illegal immigrants were illiterate in their native languages, much less English. ... The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education predicts that because of declining education and productivity, average per capita income for the nation will have fallen two percent by 2020. For California, because of its heavily Hispanic population, the center predicted a real per capita income decline of $2,467 or no less than 10.8 percent, the biggest loss for any state. ... Texas faces serious problems too. ... McKenzie [sic] and Company, estimates that if black and Hispanic students had been able to close the achievement gap in 1998, American GDP 10 years later would have been larger by up to half-a-trillion dollars. ... The Educational Testing Service (ETS), based in New Jersey, predicts that all states will see a drop in reading and math ability. ... The US is slipping badly in comparison with other developed countries. ... In blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are excluded from the American results, our performance rises from 12th, to 2nd in reading and 5th in math. This means immigrants, blacks, and Hispanics are dragging our rating down. ... The oldest age groups--the ones with the most whites--do the best while the youngest groups with the fewest whites [do] worst. ... The same racial pattern is found in student scores. ... However, if the scores only of whites were counted, the US ranked 10th, in the company of Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand. ... By age 15, many of the worst performing American students have dropped out, which means those who are tested are not a representative sample. ... In coming decades, companies may move [white-collar jobs] offshore because they can't find Americans who can do them at any wage. ... There are about 16,000 school districts in the [US], and not one has figured out how to [close the achievement gap]--but we all keep pretending it's possible. ... What would baffle Enoch Poweel about all this is why there is so much talk about bridging the achievement gaps but so little talk about keeping Hispanic immigrants out of the country. If Hispanics are not good additions to the workforce, why let more in? ... An increasingly Hispanic workforce is, in Powell's terms, an avoidable evil. But we will fail to avoid it simply because we are unable to say to Mexicans, 'Your lot isn't working out too well here, so stay home.' Instead, we try one preposterous gap-closing scheme after another and wonder why we can't get blood from turnips", original italics, my emphasis, Jared Taylor (JT) at TakiMag, 12 October 2009, link:

It's that old devil IQ again rearing its ugly head. Just change our "peer group" countries to: Mexico , Guatemala, Pakistan, Uganda and Haiti. The US is doing fine.

Could go? Where have our demographers been since 1973? Rise in income? Look at California. Not will be, is now. 10.8%? McKinsey, shut up. Starting with my 24 May 2009 post: Hmm, has McKinsey heard of "left tail cutoff"? I figured out how to close the achievement gap over 40 yerars ago! Thank you JT for saving me the trouble of doing some of this arithmetic. What is California's current decrease in per capita GSP arising from its demographic changes? In my 11 October 2009 post:, I noted California's per capita GSP excluding Hispanics was $55,300, including Hispanics its $40,000 a 27.7% decrease! That's over than 10.8% now, not in 2020.


Anonymous said...

I agree IA... why "invite" or allow a large migration of people who are not very well educated? It doesn't really make sense.

Close the borders and ask illegals to return. Reverse the flow.

Alan said...

National math test scores continue to be disappointing. This poor trend persists in spite of new texts, standardized tests with attached implied threats, or laptops in the class. At some point, maybe we should admit that math, as it is taught currently and in the recent past, seems irrelevant to a large percentage of grade school kids.

Why blame a sixth grade student or teacher trapped by meaningless lessons? Teachers are frustrated. Students check out.

The missing element is reality. Instead of insisting that students learn another sixteen formulae, we need to involve them in tangible life projects. And the task must be interesting.

This type of project-oriented math engages kids. It is fun. They have a reason to learn the math they may have ignored in the standard lecture format of a class room.

Alan Cook