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May 15, 2004

This isn't going to close the gap

All Things Considered has a piece titled Probing the Minority Achievement Gap. Standard model issues: majority black middle class district where "tracking" results in segregation, as whites are packed into "honors" courses, etc. etc. Various explanations are addressed, etc. etc.

Anyway, at one point, they are interviewing a young black teacher who is very close to the African American students. I perked up (in a negative way) when she began to speak of how the learning must be "relevant" to her kids. Then it cuts to a lesson plan where they are talking about how the Timbuktu has the world's oldest university. Uh, this is highly tenditious, I mean, who the hell accredited this university? Though seriously, was The Academy in Athens accredited? What about the colleges that prepared Chinese mandarins? Monastery schools?

Oh, and did I mention that nuclear weapons were not described in the Mahabarata, everything wasn't invented in China (though perhaps all inventions were forgotten there) and the the Koran did not initiate and predict modern science.

There is something called reality everyone needs to be familiar with before any "gaps" can be closed. Is that sensitive enough for you?

(Oh, and one "expert" mentions how because certain methods seem to foster academic advancement in white students, one must not assume that the same methods can be transferred to black students. Say what? I can deal with changing "James" to "Jamal," but what else could they be talking about? Michael Levin has some answers in Why Race Matters, but do we really want to go there?)

Update: Steve's Sunday column is on Brown & IQ.

Posted by razib at 10:28 PM