September 28, 2010

The white kid in "Waiting for 'Superman'"

The most curious segment of David Guggenheim's celebrated school reform documentary, Waiting for "Superman," is devoted to the one white out of the five kids trying to get picked to attend a charter high school. E. is an 8th grader in posh San Mateo County in Silicon Valley. Her neighborhood high school is Woodside H.S., which is a few miles north of Stanford U. 

But her English-accented mother is desperate to keep her out of Woodside and get her into Summit Prep, a charter. How come?

Because, according to Guggenheim's documentation, if E. attended her neighborhood school, Woodside, she'd be placed in the lower track. But Summit Prep has only one track. 

I looked up some facts on these two schools.

Yes, admission to Summit Prep is by lottery, but you can't pick up an application without the student attending a six hour session and the parent attending a 90 minute session. You cannot get your hands on an application to be in the lottery any other way. There are various other devices as well to make sure that parents who enter the lottery are dedicated.

Woodside, the neighborhood school, is about 33 percent white and 54 percent Hispanic (the school district covers East Palo Alto). Not many Asians go to Woodside, and it has "only" three national merit scholars in the most recent year, compared to 30 to 60 at some heavily Asian Silicon Valley schools.

So, reading between the lines, we can infer that E.'s mom wants to keep her out of the Hispanic-dominated track in high school.

Keep in mind, though, that there aren't too many gangbangers in the lower track at Woodside. Their 2009 California Academic Performance Index scores aren't bad:

Woodside 2009: 
White 839
Hispanic 702
Difference 137

For the whole state, 9-12 API's in 2009 for Hispanics were 653, so the Hispanics at Woodside are above average. For whites, the state average was 790.

But, just as the Guggenheim-Shue children are sent to a Westside private school to develop a peer group of the kind of children who go to Westside private schools, so does E.'s mom want to keep her away from a mostly Hispanic peer group.

At the Summit Prep charter school, the APIs are somewhat better for both groups:

Summit Prep 2009
White 889
Hispanic 744
Difference 145

But, do you notice something? Summit is, I believe, the only one of the five charter schools celebrated in the documentary to have enough white students to measure the size of the ethnic achievement gap. And, it turns out, the ethnicity gap is slightly larger at the celebrated charter school than at the neighborhood school. 

I suspect this is generally true: improving schools raises everybody's performance, but it doesn't Close the Gap. 

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, how much of the white-Hispanic achievement gap do you think can be closed if only Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers? I get the sense that Hispanics devote a lot less time and effort into academics relative to their workaholic white counterparts.

Steve Sailer said...

A not insignificant amount. Probably less than 50% but more than 10%.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, how much of the white-Hispanic achievement gap do you think can be closed if only Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers? I get the sense that Hispanics devote a lot less time and effort into academics relative to their workaholic white counterparts.

Anonymous said...

OT - Steve, any comments on the Christopher Coates case?

Anonymous said...

> And, it turns out, the ethnicity gap is slightly larger at the celebrated charter school than at the neighborhood school. I suspect this is generally true: improving schools raises everybody's performance, but it doesn't Close the Gap.

It's well to remember here the old Gaussian saw, that a difference at the means entails a larger difference at the extremes. Hence, you might have a 4:1 white:black ratio for great teachers, and 100:1 for pathbreaking mathematicians.

Truth said...

"Steve Sailer, how much of the white-Hispanic achievement gap do you think can be closed if only Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers?"

And what if the Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like Asians?

50%? 80%?

Anonymous said...

@Truth

80%? Now you're starting to sound like a blank-slate liberal...

Anthony said...

Wait - there's a public school in California which does tracking other than "special ed" and "the rest"?

stari_momak said...

You trolls have it all wrong -- we invented the terms 'effortless mastery' and 'gentleman's C', and 'hella cool'. White folks don't grind. We just succeed.

eh said...

A not insignificant amount.

And were we to invest the resources necessary to achieve that (assuming for the moment that it is possible), would that increase the 'smart fraction' among Latinos?

A recent blog post over at Vdare pointed out again that spending a huge proportion of education money trying to boost the performance of underachievers is a questionable strategy, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference (which I suspect is lost on some here) between "working hard" and "grinding". For instance, if you study geometry properly and pay attention and think, then you should be able to prove say the Pythagorean Theorem several different ways, pretty much naturally, based on what you've learned. That is different from memorizing a dozen proofs of the same.

When I was in high school I worked pretty damn hard at my courses, and had close to a 4.0 GPA as a result. But I never attended an SAT cram school, or even prepped for it for more than maybe three days, and still scored north of 1700 (80's test version). That is because I worked hard at my courses, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Re my last comment, I think I wrote "scored north of 1700", ugh, of course I meant "north of 1500," 1600 having been a perfect score at the time.

See that, I'm old and stupid/forgetful already. Or else I just haven't lived my life obsessing over test scores. Probably a bit of both.

Anonymous said...

@eh

Don't worry. As people on here have repeatedly pointed out, anyone can grind it out to academic success! The malady that I suspect afflicts Hispanics the most is a lack of devotion towards educational pursuits. For instance, all of the white parents I know take an early interest in their kid's academic careers and relentlessly ensure that their kids dedicate themselves appropriately to their studies. Hispanic parents on the other hand appear to be lackadaisical towards the academic success of their children. This attitude on the part of the parents leads to a similar degree of laziness from the students, most of whom lack the ambition and drive to grind it out like their white peers. How many Hispanics have you seen grinding it out in a Kaplan SAT prep course? Very few. How many Hispanics are willing to grind it out in order to be magna cum laude in college? Very few. Whites on the other hand have developed a culture of hard work and mastered the art of grinding it out. Perhaps it has something to do with the so called Protestant work ethic? See here for Max Weber's formulation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic

Big Bill said...

@Truth: "And what if the Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like Asians?"

What an awful thought! Why would one want to teach happy-go-lucky Mexican peasants to be Asian grinds?

And how would it be done?

Capture their children and send them to missionary schools like we did the aborigines in America and Australia?

Force them to go to all-day cram schools on the weekends?

Ai, Papi!

Anonymous said...

My ex-girl friend called me up last week to get me to take her to the movies. She has a doctorate in education and is a dean at a graduate school that trains public school teachers.

I suggested "Waiting for Superman". It got a 92% rating at Rotten Tomatoes after all.

She was certainly not interested. She wanted some chick flick and I wanted some heist movie (as always), leading me to wonder - just who is the audience for this movie? A documentary about public school education is such a boring prospect that even educators stay away - who goes?

Albertosaurus

RKU said...

Don't forget the likely "white-white" gap at Woodside or Summit...

Bear in mind that Silicon Valley schools such as Palo Alto or Gunn or Woodside probably draw from a population of some of the smartest and best educated whites in America. Meanwhile, nearly all the Hispanics are working class or working-poor, usually from a recent immigrant background.

If you waved a magic wand, and turned all those Hispanics into purest white European Americans, you'd probably still have a huge test-score gap, perhaps even of roughly similar size.

As a test of this hypothesis, someone should look up the test scores of white students in Fresno or Bakersfield. I suspect they're not so hot, even though the kids are probably sixth generation Americans.

Paul Mendez said...

There are elements of Hispanic culture that are antithetical to academic achievement.

First, taking care of your family is considered more virtuous than taking care of yourself. The old cliche of the mother scrubbing floors so the son can go to medical school would horrify most Hispanics. What kind of man would let his mother scrub floors so he could lead an easier life?

Second, trying too hard to rise socially above the rest of your family and friends is viewed with more than a bit of suspicion. Instead of being proud of a son that outdoes him, an Hispanic father will often feel resentment.

The Italians part of my family is a lot the same way.

Anonymous said...

It dawned on me that Steve is one of the driving intellectual forces behind the white rage igniting the tea party movement. Everything is just as Steve pointed out in "The Real Inequality Scandal." Behold, the future of America's once white suburbs:

"ELMWOOD PLACE – A large, beer-soaked melee broke out at a toddler’s birthday party early Tuesday in this small Hamilton County suburb, hospitalizing two men and prompting police from several agencies to respond.

“It was an unbelievable scene, the amount of blood and broken glass,” said Elmwood Place Police Chief William Peskin.

About 30 children witnessed the 1 a.m. brawl among 75 people at Elmwood Eagles Hall, 5633 Vine St.

None of the youngsters were injured, Peskin said.

The father of the 3-year-old birthday girl - Ramon Marcelo-Hernandez, 26, of Norwood - was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

Punches and beer bottles were thrown after a dispute that began earlier Monday among two men – a woman’s boyfriend and her ex-husband - came to a head at the birthday party for a 3-year-old.

When police arrived, some 150 people were still gathered and about half of them were participating in the melee, Peskin said."

Sounds a lot like,

"LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eight people were shot — one fatally — and another three stabbed Saturday after a fight broke out at a birthday party, authorities said.

One man, Steven Lopez, 22, died at the scene and two other gunshot victims were taken to County–USC Medical Center with critical injuries, police said.

A dispute at the late–night house party in the Boyle Heights neighborhood escalated until several people pulled out guns and knives.

The condition of the other five shooting victims was described only as stable and there was no word on the condition of the stabbing victims, but all the remaining victims were expected to survive.

"I've never seen so many aggravated assaults in one scene," Capt. Anita Ortega told the Los Angeles Times."

europeasant said...

"And what if the Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like Asians?

50%? 80%?"

Itz amazing how many people believe that we are all born equal but due to circumstances beyond our control, were born in the wrong house!

liberal biorealist said...

Quite OT, but you might take a look at the very recently released data by the National Research Council on graduate programs in various disciplines. There's a lot of detailed data there, including, for example, average GRE scores for each program evaluated.

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/Resdoc/index.htm

Anonymous said...

@Anon

You worked hard in your classes? What a nerdy white kid you must have been! The Hispanic kids today would be wise to learn how to grind it out like that. A lot of them don't even bother with things like "going to class" or "doing their homework" or "studying hard". I've been around many Latino parents who talk about how obsessed white parents are with grades and test scores and the likes. A lot of white kids today are obsessed with getting into a good school, landing a nice white collar job, and making a 6 figure salary. Just think of your typical white lawyer or investment banker and you'll know exactly what I mean when I talk about white people grinding it out for money. The Hispanic parents on the other hand take a more holistic approach towards valuing the well-being of their children. As long as their children are healthy and have a job of any kind, the Hispanic parents will generally tend to be happy.

Anonymous said...

"Steve Sailer, how much of the white-Hispanic achievement gap do you think can be closed if only Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers?"

"A not insignificant amount. Probably less than 50% but more than 10%."

But what impact would this have on our economy, society, and culture? Probably not much. Most Mexicans will use government employment and public school teaching as their escalator into the middle class -- just as the blacks have. So we end up with a controlling, intrusive, regulation happy government curtailing all our freedoms just to keep untalented ethnic groups employed.

Anonymous said...

OT but you might like this week's New York mag feature: Who Runs New York?

http://nymag.com/news/features/establishments/

Mitch said...

Steve, I know I sound like a know it all sometimes, but you have hit on another subject where I have extensive experience. I student taught at a school near Woodside High (with similar demographics except not as many rich white kids), graduated from that school and grew up just a mile from Woodside High.

I also tutor a lot of kids at Summit, and know what the issues are, and you've hit on them.

There's a reason they picked a kid from Woodside High instead of Sequoia High, a neighboring school. Sequoia High is just a few blocks from Woodside, has far fewer rich kids (Woodside is at the bottom of Woodside Hills and picks up some wealthy kids from Atherton and the hills of Redwood City).

Sequoia, on the other hand, is bled dry of a number of mid-achieving whites whose parents started Summit (and the sister school Everest). The demographics of Summit's white students are

a) Couldn't get into Carlmont, the higher achieving school to the north, and refuse to go to SEquoia because of the "brown" kids.

b) Are in Menlo Atherton's district but can't compete with the top track.

c) Can't afford private school, or would rather not.

I know several kids from Summit who went to Berkeley who *never* would have made it in had they not gone to Summit.

Summit requires kids to go to AP Calculus. Some of them go straight from AP Calculus to remedial ed at a community college, because some 30% of the kids fail the CSU EAP. They have dismal math scores; their writing scores are okay.

It's an incredibly progressive school, very hooked into Stanford Ed School. It is not, however, very good. When you read about the middle class charter schools that are doing *worse* than their public schools of similar demographics? Think Summit.

They are all about ideology. The teachers are passionate and dedicated (I graduated with a lot of them) and want to do well. They all believe that comprehensive schools are evil places that ignore kids. But what they do instead is nag the kid to turn in work--any work--just so they don't have to fail them.

They used to refuse to teach Algebra in ninth grade, and would thus pretend that everyone was capable of Geometry. I recently heard that their math scores, and the embarrassment of so many kids ending up in remediation in college, forced them to change that. But I haven't confirmed.

I am so incredibly tired of Summit's preening. They aren't a bad school. They aren't a good one . But they are mostly helping white kids get good resumes and Hispanic kids who would otherwise fail get decent transcripts. A truly bright Hispanic kid with motivation would be much better off at Sequoia--which, by the way, is an excellent school.

Anonymous said...

100:1 for pathbreaking mathematicians

At the risk of sounding irredeemably cynical, it's actually a heckuva lot closer to  +∞:1.

For instance, if you study geometry properly and pay attention and think, then you should be able to prove say the Pythagorean Theorem several different ways, pretty much naturally, based on what you've learned.

Jesus Christ, you high-IQ types are myopic.

Simply UNDERSTANDING a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem [in, say, the 9th Grade] is gonna require AT LEAST an IQ of 120, and probably an IQ of 130.

And being able to summon up the recollection of a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, many decades later [say, at the age of 45, or 55], is gonna require at least an IQ of 130, and maybe even an IQ of 140.

You guys simply haven't spent any time at all trying to imagine what life is like beneath the center of the bell curve [much less on the trailing edge of the bell curve].

Which is to say: Even after stumbling upon the hopelessness & despair of HBD theory, you are still just fatuously optimistic in your view of things.

not a hacker said...

re the latino "attitude," allow me to tell a story. A block from the Berkeley campus is a flower stand run by an Iranian named Moe, with whom I enjoyed chatting. We used to notice this latina with super long hair and great rack walk by, hoping she'd stop at the stand. One day she did. Her name was Patricia, and she was from Delano, just north of Bakersfield. She was indeed a grad student, in "ethnic studies." She was proud of the softness of her hair, and invited us to touch it. After one thing and another, Moe asked her why we never saw her with a man. She says there aren't many latino men at Berkeley. Moe says, so how about the white guys, and she says, "I have the disease." I ask her what the disease is, and she explains, "we're taught to stay away from everything white." About a year later, I saw her coming out of a TD-Waterhouse office on Market street, so maybe she got over it.

Anonymous said...

"Grinding," (abibition in the face of obstacles) must be a personality trait that is related to as much or more to genetics as it is a socially learned behavior.


Some people will never be amibitious, will never grind much at all. It shouldn't surprise you which groups.

Anonymous said...

"As people on here have repeatedly pointed out, anyone can grind it out to academic success"


This is simply not so--it's like saying "anyone can grind it out to athletic success." Lots of reasons prevent athletic success, one of which is lack of ambition.

Kylie said...

Truth said..."And what if the Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like Asians?"

I expect that will happen right around the time blacks build a vibrant replica of Chartres Cathedral in downtown Detroit.

Anonymous said...

If you scored norht of 1500 on the SAT, you are a bright one. 140+ IQ. That you got a near 4.0 (with studying) is not surprising. It completely makes sense. Without studying, you would not get by in reasonably challenging courses, but with it you would be expected to excel.

None of this has anything to do with the vast majority at 100 IQ and their needs and how they are best educated. If you were a more thoughtful person as well as a 140 + IQ, you would realize that.

Svigor said...

Ai, Papi!

Don't worry, Harvard grads will have them saying "hai, Papi-sama" in no time.

none of the above said...

A really important question is, how much of the hard grinding in high school leads to globally desirable outcomes (better-prepared students in college who learn more faster and end up being better engineers or doctors or whatever as a result), and how much is rent-seeking (the smartest kids have to grind away to test into an Ivy League school, but what they learn in the cram schools doesn't help them do anything later). In the first case, we probably want everyone to start grinding away; in the second, we don't.

My guess is that AP classes and ability tracking are mostly the first case, and that test prep classes and schools teaching to the test in various ways is in case two.

Justin said...

What's the point of academic grinding? Go to a "good school" and get forced to do 3+ hours of homework every night.

Or... go to a non good school, and have time to spend your evenings playing music, games, hanging with friends and family at the park, etc.

Cause we all know the stuff they teach in high school is so important, right?

You people seriously have your values all backwards.

Anonymous said...

I live in Queens NY, and am zoned for a mediocre middle school whcih never the less with a great honors program. 50% of the school kids perform below understand, but the honor students shine. I have been confused for a while as to why some parents think this school is great, while others move to the suburbs in fear.

Than one day it hit me like a bolt of lightening!

The parents of smart kids are staying put because they are confident that their kids will get into the honor track. The parents of average students are fleeing to Long Island suburbs because they know their child will be tracked with the kids from the poorer neighborhoods.

This is the unspoken secret that I -an immigrant educated overseas- realized was hidden from me when assessing schools. So now I have stopped agonizing over and researching other schools for my kids. I don;t have to uproot myself from Queens and move to some isolated small village in Long Island far from the city- yeah!

We are staying put!

Anonymous said...

"About 30 children witnessed the 1 a.m. brawl among 75 people at Elmwood Eagles Hall, 5633 Vine St."

A toddler's birthday party at 1 am? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, I'm impressed by how many of your readers, according to their own words, were national merit scholars, or scored north of 1700 on the old SAT, I mean uh er, north of 1500 on the old SAT, or found a cure for AIDs when they were 12, or landed on Mars...

OneSTDV said...

improving schools raises everybody's performance

Well overall scores have been essentially constant since 1970. "Improving performance" seems like a pipe dream.

learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers

Ha, have you ever been around actual white kids? Your next brilliant observation: all white kids are born into the lap of luxury.

Anonymous said...

@OneSTDV

I've heard many black and Latino parents discuss how hard white kids work and how hard white parents make sure their kids are devoted to educational activities. I suspect it has something to do with the so called Protestant work ethic. Relative to blacks and Hispanics, a lot of whites are in fact grind it out workaholics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."You guys simply haven't spent any time at all trying to imagine what life is like beneath the center of the bell curve [much less on the trailing edge of the bell curve]."

You just made one of the most important points I've ever read on this blog.

I got an close and personal look at what life is like at or on the left of the bell curve when I lived in a mixed-race, low-income neighborhood. These people had trouble holding down janitorial positions, filling out simple paperwork, doing basic arithmetic (forget mathematics), etc. In short, daily life was a struggle for them, when they bothered to struggle--even with all the government goodies they got (I lived there pre-welfare reform). While they often made grandiose pronouncements on their futures (e.g., "I want my own house", "I'm going to college"), I never saw one take even a baby step toward realizing a goal--not even so much as switching from name-brand cigarettes to generic or getting clean and sober.

Even worse, in addition to not being bright, they were unmotivated. They didn't make more than the minimum effort at anything because, dumb as they were, they were cunning enough to know they didn't have to. Ultimately, the government provided for them and they knew it.

But dumb as they were, most could have made near-miraculous improvements in things like basic spelling, addition, substraction, getting to work on time-if they'd known they had to. In other words, the government is one great big enabler of the poor. Combine that with cultures that disparage achievement and have a strong sense of entitlement and you have a perfect storm of taxpayer-subsidized failures, who generally succeed only in reproducing themselves with dismaying rapidity.

But yes, I think few here have any idea of just how dumb dumb people are--and just how dumb our government encourages them to be.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."Steve Sailer, I'm impressed by how many of your readers, according to their own words, were national merit scholars, or scored north of 1700 on the old SAT, I mean uh er, north of 1500 on the old SAT, or found a cure for AIDs when they were 12, or landed on Mars..."

Not half as impressed as I am by, say, Michelle "Thank-you" Obama, who worked her way up from a blue-collar neighborhood all the way to the White House, with her Ivy League education culminating in 2 degrees, her high-powered job with its 6 figure income and now her stature as an icon of beauty and fashion.

And any time she wants to add landing on Mars to her list of accomplishments, I'll be the first to cheer her on.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that IQ and work ethic were moderately correlated with one another and that the causal relationship ran from being smart to being hard working. For instance, blacks and Hispanics are stereotyped as being both less intelligent and less hard working, relative to their smarter, grind it out, workaholic white counterparts. What I suspect is that in general, smarter racial or ethnic groups will also tend to be harder working relative to less intelligent racial or ethnic groups, and the causality runs from having a higher IQ to having a higher degree of conscientiousness.

That being said, I'd wager that if blacks and Hispanics stopped goofing around and hit the books like their workaholic white peers, at least some of the racial gap in achievement could be closed. I'm not as sanguine as Steve in predicting that as much as 50% of the racial gap can be closed between blacks and Hispanics on the one hand and their white counterparts on the other. I think his lower bound of 10% is much more likely to be what we can expect to gain from getting blacks and Hispanics to learn how to grind it out like whites. But even closing the current gap 10% would be a worthwhile endeavor in my opinion. What I've noticed is how incredibly cut-throat elite whites can be, in terms of getting into good schools and eventually landing a cushy white collar job. I know so many whites, for instance, who would sell their soul in order to grind it out 90-100 hours a week working as an investment banker. A lot of my black and Hispanic counterparts find that kind of mentality to be shocking. Who in their right mind would work that hard and grind it out in such a workaholic fashion?

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason that Waiting For Superman is getting so much press and The Lottery (a similar recent film) is getting almost no notice at all?

Ackerman said...

***learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers

Ha, have you ever been around actual white kids? Your next brilliant observation: all white kids are born into the lap of luxury.***

OneSTDV,

I think you'll find that comment is from Yan Shen. He has a serious bee in his bonnet about Asian students being depicted as 'workaholics'.

I'm not sure what the initial post was that set him off, but he's been angry at Sailer for a few weeks at least.

stari_momak said...

I am starting to care much less about IQ and much more about aesthetic. Take a look at Gloria Allred's illegal alien client -- you all will have heard the news by now. The woman is 4' 5" , 115 lbs according to her falsely obtained driver's license. She ain't far off from you average 'Hispanic' immigrant -- there's a reason Mexican TV sticks to the actual Hispanics.

I wouldn't care if these people had 140 average IQs. I like the way we look, I don't want it changed into something approaching ugly Betty.

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT, I assume everyone has read the Village Voice piece by Steven Thrasher:

White America Has Lost Its Mind.

What I found amusing was (beside the reflexive hate-Whitey bit, in a raw battle for turf) was the assumption that Blacks and Hispanics, the "future" will generate wealth, rather than demand transfers of wealth from aging Boomers and working Gen X-Y folks.

Folks really do believe the Colors of Benetton Ads.

Anonymous said...

"...how many of your readers, according to their own words, were national merit scholars, or scored north of 1700 on the old SAT, I mean uh er, north of 1500 on the old SAT, or found a cure for AIDs when they were 12, or landed on Mars..."

Yes, getting a high SAT score decades ago and then forgetting the details is a vastly improbable feat, just like landing on Mars.

In the same vein, no mortal human has ever seen the inside of the mythical "Widener Library". It's a fictional place, like Miskatonic University, or Tommy's Lunch. (shibboleth alert.)

"What a nerdy white kid you must have been!"

Well, whatever you'd like to believe, Fonzie.

"A lot of white kids today are obsessed with getting into a good school, landing a nice white collar job, and making a 6 figure salary."

Is it greed? Obsession? Or maybe just a clear-eyed recognition of how much it will cost to not have to live in the ever-expanding "vibrant" part of town?

"None of this has anything to do with the vast majority at 100 IQ and their needs and how they are best educated."

I wasn't propounding a grand theory of education policy, I was trying to illustrate a difference between "working hard" and "grinding". Since there's been some discussion around here about white/Asian score differentials and what they might mean, I thought I'd use my own experience as an example. But I could just as easily have used the examples of cousins and siblings (auto mechanic, dental hygienist) to illustrate the same point.

Definitions can vary, but I consider academic "hard work" to be the natural application and approach to subjects that entice and appeal to you, combined with enough emotional maturity to know that everything won't come easy and sometimes you have to buckle down. I find this to be different from "grinding" or cram schools or what-not, which to my mind are sort of the intellectual equivalent of taking steroids, viz., finding a way to make a 115 IQ look like a 130, so the crammer can reap the rewards.

I don't have a settled opinion about all this, but I'd suggest that there's somewhat of a qualitative difference between what in the West has come to be known as the "[Protestant] work ethic", and the disposition which the Chinese refer to as "eating bitterness".

btw, How are they (the 100 IQ average) best educated? Here's a short suggestion: Away. From. Vibrancy.

"If you were a more thoughtful person as well as a 140 + IQ, you would realize that."

Sigh. You point to the moon, and bloggers stare at your finger. 'Twas ever thus.

Anonymous said...

> "Grinding," (ambition in the face of obstacles) must be a personality trait that is related to as much or more to genetics as it is a socially learned behavior.

Yes, that is very likely indeed since there aren't too many traits that *don't* have a heritability of at least 0.50 or so. It is hard to think of any, unless you deliberately pick something like 'day of the week one is born on.'

Anonymous said...

WHITE WOMEN DESERTING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN DROVES - GALLUP POLL
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=89790

Just like Whiskey predicted years ago...right?

elvisd said...

"There are elements of Hispanic culture that are antithetical to academic achievement.

First, taking care of your family is considered more virtuous than taking care of yourself. The old cliche of the mother scrubbing floors so the son can go to medical school would horrify most Hispanics. What kind of man would let his mother scrub floors so he could lead an easier life?

Second, trying too hard to rise socially above the rest of your family and friends is viewed with more than a bit of suspicion. Instead of being proud of a son that outdoes him, an Hispanic father will often feel resentment.

The Italians part of my family is a lot the same way."

From Tocqueville, one of the most dead-on of his assessments. I cite this often, and I've noticed that it makes all factions uncomfortable:

"Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart."

David Davenport said...

1910 seems like a REALLY long time ago - pretty much the beginning of the end for this round of civilization [even though we didn't realize it at the time].

The 19th century lasted exactly 100 years -- 1814 to 1914.

The 20th century was a short century -- 1914 to 1989 -- fall of Berlin Wall.

Maybe 2010 is similar to 1910 -- a lingering fin de siecle era, with big events pending.

////////////////////

Regarding men's fashions, it seems to me that wearing a complete suit with tie and dress shirt is being almost as relatively rare as donning a tux in 1910.

CC-bLF said...

This is the unspoken secret that I -an immigrant educated overseas- "realized was hidden from me when assessing schools. So now I have stopped agonizing over and researching other schools for my kids. I don;t have to uproot myself from Queens and move to some isolated small village in Long Island far from the city- yeah!

We are staying put!"

I got no use for immigrants, so I'm tempted to smile benignly and nod, yes, yes, do that, and congratulate you for your Eureka moment.

But my darn Euro propensity for pity for outsiders' kids compels me to say this: There's a factor here you obviously haven't considered -- the risk of a poor-neighborhood kid beating the snot out of yours in the hallway.

Protect your kid. Take him out of the Queens school.

Hey! I just felt a lightning bolt, too. Here's your solution: Take him back to the Old Country. That's good for him and me too -- a win-win all around.

Anonymous said...

"In the same vein, no mortal human has ever seen the inside of the mythical "Widener Library". It's a fictional place, like Miskatonic University, or Tommy's Lunch."

Or Elsies. Sure miss those greasy oversize cheese burgers.

Truth said...

"But yes, I think few here have any idea of just how dumb dumb people are--and just how dumb our government encourages them to be."

That was the smartest post you've ever written here Kylie. I'm impressed.

"Not half as impressed as I am by, say, Michelle "Thank-you" Obama,"

Darn! You just ruined it.

Anonymous said...

"I think few here have any idea of just how dumb dumb people are--"

Au contraire, I think it's the close proximity of teh stupid in our lives that is making us start to wake up.

It's all around me, here in flyover. Baby mamas with tramp stamps, boomers striving to get on SSI, aging hippies moving in on parents to "take care" of them. People who were never viably employed. All white, too. I can only imagine how it is in the big metro areas.

PRCalDude said...

First, taking care of your family is considered more virtuous than taking care of yourself.

Why the 50% illegitimacy rate then?

PRCalDude said...

The Hispanic parents on the other hand take a more holistic approach towards valuing the well-being of their children. As long as their children are healthy and have a job of any kind, the Hispanic parents will generally tend to be happy.


"holistic" - I like that euphemism.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, I'm impressed by how many of your readers, according to their own words, were national merit scholars, or scored north of 1700 on the old SAT, I mean uh er, north of 1500 on the old SAT, or found a cure for AIDs when they were 12, or landed on Mars...

It's interesting, that you juxtapose 1500 on the old SAT or NMSs with landing on Mars. P.S., I signed in as Anon on that thread and for this post, though I usually have a handle.

Melykin said...

Is alcoholism very widespread among Hispanics? It certainly is among Canadian aboriginals. Alcoholism is so prevelent among First Nations people in Canada that in some communities the majority of kids have fetal alcohol syndrome. I don't think it would be possible to figure out what their natural ability level is until the alcoholism is sorted out.

There is one tribe, the Haida, who seem to be much more functional and prosperous than other Natives. They are from the Queen Charlotte Islands off the B.C. coast (actually they have renamed them - can't recall how to spell new name) Maybe the Haida came over from Asia later than other natives. But it is not politically correct to talk about it or collect data, etc.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever been around white kids who grind it out in college to make sure that they're magna cum laude, then grind it out for 90-100 hours a week working as an investment banker? Some of my Latino friends expressed amazement that their white peers in college were such workaholics.

Anonymous said...

The Haida are Nadene.

Kylie said...

Truth said..."That was the smartest post you've ever written here Kylie. I'm impressed.

[Truth quoting me]'Not half as impressed as I am by, say, Michelle "Thank-you" Obama,'

Darn! You just ruined it."

What? I don't get any points for resisting the temptation to use sneer quotes (esp. when I wrote that Michelle worked her way up)?

So often when a non-liberal white person cites some accomplishment, leftists accuse him either of lying or bragging. But when a person of color (who is also a self-confessed AA baby), does something, those same leftists fall over themselves trumpeting that person's "accomplishment". Seems like what we have now is a meritocracy by melanin--apparently, you can't have one without the other.

That poster I quoted irked me with his snide reference to being impressed by all the National Merit Scholars, etc. here (and I am one, as it happens). I have to put up with that kind of crap almost everywhere else in the world but at home and right here. And as long as Steve Sailer is willing to indulge me by posting my rants and vents, I'm going to keep ranting and venting here.

Because I can. Because he lets me.

And because I write better than Michelle "Thank-you" Obama. ;)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, how much of the white-Hispanic achievement gap do you think can be closed if only Hispanics learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers?


Since being a workaholic is genetic and not learned, then 0!

Anonymous said...

"As a test of this hypothesis, someone should look up the test scores of white students in Fresno or Bakersfield. I suspect they're not so hot, even though the kids are probably sixth generation Americans."

As Steve has pointed out many times, black children of parents averaging $100,000 in income have the same IQs as white children from households averaging only 10,000 dollars.

Blacks that are adopted by white parents have nearly identical IQs as those that are raised by their biological parents.

It's not poverty, it's not culture, it's biology.

Sorry blank slaters.

Anonymous said...

Let's sing it everybody... Go white people, go go white people. go white people, go go white people.. Sailer can lead the chorus and everyone join in!

Go white people, go go white people..

JayW said...

"CC-bLF said...

I got no use for immigrants, so I'm tempted to smile benignly and nod, yes, yes, do that, and congratulate you for your Eureka moment ...

Hey! I just felt a lightning bolt, too. Here's your solution: Take him back to the Old Country. That's good for him and me too -- a win-win all around "

This kind of attitude is exactly why most immigrants vote for the Democrats.

So the next time you see a Jew, an Indian, or a Chinese voting for the Democrats, even though you might think they are clearly voting against their best interests, reread your post.

Anonymous said...

As a white nationalist, I'll state for the record that I believe the black-white and black-Hispanic gap is mostly biology, but the white-Jewish and white-East Asian gap is mostly cultural. So basically, if whites score higher than a group, its due to biology, and if whites score lower than a group, its due to culture, nepotism, etc. That would be a general rule of thumb that I'd embrace.

CC-bLF said...

"This kind of attitude is exactly why most immigrants vote for the Democrats.

So the next time you see a Jew, an Indian, or a Chinese voting for the Democrats, even though you might think they are clearly voting against their best interests, reread your post."

Nah. Causality goes the other way.

-- THEY're voting Democrat because they want the goodies the Dems tell 'em they're entitled to, being holy immigrants, and all. (Like, for instance, a., the chance to move into my home country, uninvited by me, and, b., put their kids in schools paid for by White taxpayers.)

-- *I* am anti-immigrant because they vote Democrat (and, also, to be sure, because they want to import lots of their family members and coethnics, which they enjoy hearing the Dems tell them to do, displacing me from the country my ancestors built.)

Just shoot me said...

"Is alcoholism very widespread among Hispanics"

Yeah.

Brenda Walker has done a lot of articles about how Mexican men consider it "macho" to drink 12 beers, then drive home drunk (killing a few innocents on their way). Mexican men who can't down 12 beers in a sitting are considered unmanly wimps.

David Davenport said...

So the next time you see a Jew, an Indian, or a Chinese voting for the Democrats, even though you might think they are clearly voting against their best interests, reread your post.

Doesn't matter if you vote Dem. or Repub. Just please go home.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Steve, while you offer reasonable propositions, the NYT beats you once again with The Quixotic Solution To Any Education Problem they churn out on a weekly basis.

kudzu bob said...

Kylie:

As a lowly National Merit Finalist rather than a full-fledged National Merit Scholar, allow me to say that your posts are excellent. (We really ARE all over this blog, aren't we? It's like some kind of eugenics experiment...)

Anonymous said...

This kind of attitude is exactly why most immigrants vote for the Democrats.

So the next time you see a Jew, an Indian, or a Chinese voting for the Democrats, even though you might think they are clearly voting against their best interests, reread your post.


No, it isnt.

Its just another version of hispandering. Instead of just being nice to immigrants, we'll be extra nice, then they will magically see that their best interests lie away from the Democrats.

Anonymous said...

kudzu bob, did you realize that there is no difference between a national merit finalist, as opposed to a national merit scholar? :)

you basically have national merit semifinalists, most of whom go on to become finalists.
in general both semfinalists and finalists are referred to as national merit scholars


now tell me, when did you land on mars again?

Anonymous said...

CC-blf - Indians vote democrat, because Republicans are religiously hostile to them, because the Republican base is made of Evangelical Christians, who religion-bait - a-la Nikki Haley, Swati Dandekar and Satveer Chaudhury

NAM Mom said...

Sorry Steve, while you offer reasonable propositions, the NYT beats you once again with The Quixotic Solution To Any Education Problem they churn out on a weekly basis.

Yeah Singapore Math is awesome but it only works along with a whole lot of drill and a parent/teacher who is above average in math.

Truth said...

"As a lowly National Merit Finalist rather than a full-fledged National Merit Scholar, allow me to say that your posts are excellent..."

Good show Bobby! I think that you and Kylie are a match made in heaven if you can get her to leave Sparky the Chimmney Sweep; consider the common ground:

You're both, 1)white (presumably) 2)frustrated at the takeover of your country (castratedly) 3) of a certain age (admittedly) and you were both excellent at polishing up a shiny red apple for the teacher back in the day.

Kylie said...

kudzu bob said..."Kylie:

As a lowly National Merit Finalist rather than a full-fledged National Merit Scholar, allow me to say that your posts are excellent."

Wow, thanks! The regard is mutual, as I hope you know. I'm very aware that any positive contribution I make here is small but the company is so good, I can't stay away.

And..."(We really ARE all over this blog, aren't we? It's like some kind of eugenics experiment...)"

I'm not sure any eugenics experiment would be designed to produce people who have to be shown how to do a hyperlink (I haven't forgotten how helpful and tactful you were). But yes, I love the consistently high quality of discussion here.

By the way, seems to me you've made yourself scarce recently both here and at OneSTDV. It's good to see you again.

CC-bLF said...

"CC-blf - Indians vote democrat, because Republicans are religiously hostile to them, because the Republican base is made of Evangelical Christians, who religion-bait - a-la Nikki Haley, Swati Dandekar and Satveer Chaudhury"

Had the Indians not been allowed in, the root cause for their political leanings wouldn't even be a subject of discussion.

Q: If it's so awful to have to live in a country with evangelicals, why did they come here?

A: Because the draw of Dem - endorced goodies outweighs the annoyance of the bible thumpers.

Anonymous said...

"Let's sing it everybody... Go white people, go go white people. go white people, go go white people.. Sailer can lead the chorus and everyone join in!

Go white people, go go white people.."

I assume this is sarcastic. How come the whole world wants to live in countries white people designed and built and not other countries?

Anonymous said...

@Anon

Probably because countries in East Asian don't allow for mass immigration. Though I hear that more and more Americans are heading East these days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/business/economy/11expats.html

Svigor said...

This kind of attitude is exactly why most immigrants vote for the Democrats.

So the next time you see a Jew, an Indian, or a Chinese voting for the Democrats, even though you might think they are clearly voting against their best interests, reread your post.


In other words, letting you (and your hypothetical Jew, Indian, and Chinese) in the front door was a mistake.

Svigor said...

CC-blf - Indians vote democrat, because Republicans are religiously hostile to them, because the Republican base is made of Evangelical Christians, who religion-bait - a-la Nikki Haley, Swati Dandekar and Satveer Chaudhury

Indians vote Democrat because we let them in.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."kudzu bob, did you realize that there is no difference between a national merit finalist, as opposed to a national merit scholar? :)"

As with so much else, there is a difference and that difference is money. National Merit Scholars are those National Merit Finalists who were chosen by some company to receive a scholarship.

kudzu bob was being gallant when he modestly described himself as a lowly National Merit Finalist. It was a very graceful and much-appreciated way to pay me a compliment.

Anonymous said...

>kudzu bob, did you realize that there is no difference between a national merit finalist, as opposed to a national merit scholar? :)

you basically have national merit semifinalists, most of whom go on to become finalists.
in general both semifinalists and finalists are referred to as national merit scholars


now tell me, when did you land on mars again?<

I was planning to visit Mars, but when I heard you had already taken up residence there I decided to stay here in the Mid-South, where people understand that not all National Merit Semifinalists go on to be Finalists, and not all Finalists go on to be Scholars. That's why the National Merit Scholarship Corporation bothered to create three entirely different terms for each category in the first place, instead of just calling everybody involved Scholars, genius.

Kudzu Bob

kudzu bob said...

You're both, 1)white (presumably) 2)frustrated at the takeover of your country (castratedly) 3) of a certain age (admittedly) and you were both excellent at polishing up a shiny red apple for the teacher back in the day.

Kylie can speak for herself. As for myself: 1) Unapologetically so. Ancestors fought in American Revolution. 2) Cognizant, not frustrated. View this country’s current situation as a problem to be dealt with. To that end am politically and otherwise involved. Also, “castratedly” not word. 3) Am as hopeless at apple-polishing as you are at punctuation. Lousy grades, discipline issues, nearly got thrown out of school multiple times. Will never forget weird looks from teachers, guidance counselors, and principal when scores arrived. If had skipped fewer classes, etc., might actually have made Scholar. Done all right since.

By the way, seems to me you've made yourself scarce recently both here and at OneSTDV.

Busy of late with freelance writing in addition to day job. Book collaboration will make things busier still, now that friend/occasional writing-partner nearly recuperated from injuries sustained in Hongcouver jail. (Steve will be amused to note said scofflaw has had pieces in his venue, TakiMag.) Will comment as time permits.

kudzu bob said...
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kudzu bob said...
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Anonymous said...

"stari_momak said...

You trolls have it all wrong -- we invented the terms 'effortless mastery' and 'gentleman's C', and 'hella cool'. White folks don't grind. We just succeed."

Define "grind". If you meant "grind" as in never studied a day in your life, then you are full of crap. People like that do not succeed, and you are full of crap if you say otherwise.