Tag Archives: SES

Stagnant Test Scores, Ten Years Later

In spite of a decade of high stakes testing at our free public schools, our international test scores are stagnant and comfortably mediocre.

Pisa_Score_Heat_map

One reason is that high stakes testing is a terrible idea.

Even if it wasn’t, we use the wrong type of tests.

Even if we didn’t, we don’t have free public education.

No Child Left Behind, in spite of hopes, has not yet worked.

The plus side is our international test scores show that white and Asian students do pretty good. White Americans do as well as the Swiss. In school systems were whites and Asians or middle- and upper- classes are a large majority, we basically can experiment with ways of introducing more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses, through things like programmatic learning.

In URM (under-represented minority) and low-SES (socio-econoimc status) schools, we do really badly. There parents are very risk conscious, and basically only want baby-sitters.

But the good news is because of the “great sort,” there are less and less high-achievement-capable students in URM and low-SES schools each year (apart from immigrant communities). In URM and low-SES schools, we should castrate the ranks of teachers and administrators as quickly as possible, and find some way of putting those schools under the controls of large local employers, such as light manufacture or semi-skilled clerical work.

Instead of leaving “no child behind,” we should have a system of trade education to leave some children behind — but not far enough behind that they hurt our society or economy.

Quality Control of Children

Eugenics (the improvement of the mean and variance of the phenotype of the next generation through manipulations of the genotype) is as important, necessary, inevitable, and morally correct as anti-poverty initiatives, programs to teach middle class values, and “euSES” (the improvement of the mean and variance of the phenotype of the next generation through manipulation of socio-economic status).

Gene Expression: Picking the perfect baby

“But the main issue is the idea of treating the child as an object, as product for which you are seeking quality control,” Dr Tonti-Filippini says.

1) Part of this is publicity, you can get only so much information out of genetic tests right now (see Genetic Future). Take a look at Genetic determinants of hair, eye and skin pigmentation in Europeans, and note how much higher the odds ratio (20-30 vs. ~5) for OCA2 “blue-eye” markers are vs. the ones which might give some information about hair color. The same differences in effect size apply to disease loci. I suspect many people will balk at paying up when confronted with the provisionality of some of the inferences.

“Quality Control” (the scientific regulation of variance and mean production outcomes) is what you get when you do not want to pay professionals enough to do the job as a craft. For instance, law has no ‘quality control,’ in the strict sense, because those who have an interest in high-quality law simply pay more money for a better lawyer. The factory that made your iPod, however, is all about ‘quality control,’ as its payscale is just enough to attract and hold off-the-farm uneducated female laborers.

As a society, we long ago decided we weren’t going to pay teachers enough to avoid quality control. So now we’re getting it, with No Child Left Behind.

Through No Child Left Behind, Bush proved himself to be the greatest pro-education and pro-civil-rights President since Abraham Lincoln. It is easy to denounce your enemies and send in the troops. Such destructiveness can even be politically popular. But it does not help in the real goal of increasing the knowledge base of learners. Quality control does that.

Interestingly, through the 2009 Stimulus, Barack Obama may prove himself to be the greatest pro-eugenics American since Margaret Sanger. As long as health care (incudling physical health, mental health, wellness, and aptitude toward financial literacy) is considered to be a private problem, the role of the federal government in improving it is limited. However, Obama’s quest to expand health care to children, the unemployed, and other groups is a stalking horse for a truly national health care system.

When the difference between in vitro gene therapy is $100,000 in later medical bills out of parents’ pockets, it’s a private matter. When the difference is out of the taxpayer’s pockets, we get into the world of policy.

Unless Obama overturns the substantive parts of No Child Left Behind, Bush’s education legacy will continue until the end of the Republic. Unless the next President overturns the substantive parts of Obama’s national health care proposals, Obama’s eugenics legacy will continue until the end of the Republic.

The Unfairness of Working Memory

Several interrelated posts this morning, including “Intelience and the President of the United States, “Capturing my Thoughts: How could Demographic Warfare me used with 5GW?,” “Fixing Milwaukee Notes: Milwaukee School District Governance,” and “U.S. college panel calls for less focus on SATs.”

The topics all revolve around Working Memory, the capacity of the adult to keep 7 (ish) things in mind at the same time. Some people have more, some have less. Working memory is heritable and impacts life outcomes. Working memory is not “fair.” It is predicted by your class origin, your socio-economic status, your race, and so on while its variance is predicted by your sex. (Being male is risky business.)

Many social problems will be eleviated when we can use retroviruses or stem cell therapy to increase the working memory of the underclass. At the same time, any individual with low working memory can more than compensate by building up his long-term memory (his knowledge and experience), his self-efficacy (how he responds to failure), and his behavior.