April 5, 2013

Eight months and twenty-nine days

From the New York Times:
Investments in Education May Be Misdirected 
By EDUARDO PORTER 
James Heckman is one of the nation’s top economists studying human development. Thirteen years ago, he shared the Nobel for economics. In February, he stood before the annual meeting of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed the assembled business executives a chart, and demolished the United States’ entire approach to education. 
The chart showed the results of cognitive tests that were first performed in the 1980s on several hundred low-birthweight 3-year-olds, who were then retested at ages 5, 8 and 18. 
Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments. 
More surprising is that the difference in cognitive performance was just as big at age 18 as it had been at age 3. 
“The gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Mr. Heckman told me. “School neither increases nor reduces it.” 
If education is supposed to help redress inequities at birth and improve the lot of disadvantaged children as they grow up, it is not doing its job. 
It is not an isolated finding. Another study by Mr. Heckman and Flavio Cunha of the University of Pennsylvania found that the gap in math abilities between rich and poor children was not much different at age 12 than it was at age 6. 
The gap is enormous, one of the widest among the 65 countries taking part in the Program for International Student Achievement run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 
American students from prosperous backgrounds scored on average 110 points higher on reading tests than disadvantaged students, about the same disparity that exists between the average scores in the United States and Tunisia. It is perhaps the main reason income inequality in the United States is passed down the generations at a much higher rate than in most advanced nations. 
That’s a scandal, considering how much the government spends on education: about 5.5 percent of the nation’s economic output in total, from preschool through college. 
And it suggests that the angry, worried debate over how to improve the nation’s mediocre education — pitting the teachers’ unions and the advocates of more money for public schools against the champions of school vouchers and standardized tests — is missing the most important part: infants and toddlers.

In truth, Heckman's focus on preschool is too late. The real gap in environment that leads to different IQs is prenatal. It begins exactly 8 months and 29 days before birth. 

But not a day earlier!

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, possibly so for Steve's entire blog, but Michelle Obama referred to herself, oddly, as a "single mother" in an interview today. I don't know what to make of it. It's probably nothing, but just kind of interesting.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/05/michelle-obama-slips-up-calls-herself-single-mother/

Auntie Analogue said...


Gee, Mr. Sailer, the Gap begins eight months and twenty-nine days before birth? What a conception!

elvisd said...

This is off topic, possibly so for Steve's entire blog, but Michelle Obama referred to herself, oddly, as a "single mother" in an interview today. I don't know what to make of it.

Deep down, she just wants to live the dream: the Life of Julia.

playrink said...

the greatest debt flows in utero - a natal, prosaic analogue for original sin?

Anonymous said...

Michelle Obama referred to herself, oddly, as a "single mother" in an interview today. I don't know what to make of it.

Could this have been an expression of some internalized sense of victimhood and disadvantage? Identification with blacks rather than whites?

Chicago said...

So the problem of the gap lies with the mommas, they didn't get to be all they could be and thus the children are doomed to lives of failure. To help the children it would have been best to help the mommas themselves early on so they could then pass it on. But then, they're victims of their own mothers also. So the problem really started many moons ago. What happened to Operation Head Start? It was supposed to have closed all gaps once and for all.
The economist seems to have overlooked one factor in all this and that is that children have fathers also. Or is this country composed of all single mothers nowadays? Maybe the economist has had some daddy issues himself, leading him to block out that subject from his mind. Cut to the bottom line, it's probably just about how mo' money spent his way will do the job. It'd probably be cheaper to send them all on a onetime trip to Lourdes to attain the desired miracles.

Anonymous said...

"American students from prosperous backgrounds scored on average 110 points higher on reading tests than disadvantaged students, about the same disparity that exists between the average scores in the United States and Tunisia."

An economist to look at this problem without understanding of genetics and IQ will never come up with a meaningful solution. It doesn't seem to stop them trying though.

Anonymous said...

An economist to look at this problem without understanding of genetics and IQ will never come up with a meaningful solution. It doesn't seem to stop them trying though.

Or an economist with a good understanding of genetics and IQ knowing how to avoid coming up with the 'wrong' solutions.

Someone who really didnt understand could blunder into making suggestions which might throw too much light in the wrong corners.

Anonymous said...

"Could this have been an expression of some internalized sense of victimhood and disadvantage? Identification with blacks rather than whites?"

I don't think it could possibly mean anything else. Well, I must confess, in my twisted mind, I thought that she no longer feels married, because they stopped having sex once they had their two prop children, to authenticate their marriage in the public eye - the Clinton's one child didn't convince anybody. Deep down, I bet Barry would have preferred to marry a white girl, like the ones that filled his father's DREAMS.

Foreign expert said...

Speaking of Michelle Obama, doesn't she look like a female impersonator? What does that say about Barry's sexuality?

Sax von Stroheim said...

What about research suggesting that poverty causes toxic stress which has an adverse affect on childhood development?

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=toxic+stress+in+childhood+glucocorticoids&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=0PxfUZ2VIu3F4APF1IHoDw&ved=0CCwQgQMwAA

Sax von Stroheim said...

What about research suggesting that poverty causes toxic stress which has an adverse affect on childhood development?

(See Shonkoff, et al, Pediatrics 2012)

panjoomby said...

school doesn't make people smarter. people are as smart as they are pre-set to be. school can wire in some reading skills. woo-hoo.

Anonymous said...

Deep down, I bet Barry would have preferred to marry a white girl, like the ones that filled his father's DREAMS.

I find it fascinating that his tastes in TLTDNSIN run to a shiny-dark ebony princeling like Reggie Love, rather than to a swarthy-olive swash-buckling IDF officer like Rahm Emanuel, or to an electro-porcelain man-about-town dandy like Anderson Cooper.

It's almost as though his autobiography should have been titled, Dreams From my MOTHER!!!

But I guess that even Bill Ayers wasn't willing to be quite that honest back in 1995.

PS: Steve, in all seriousness, if Obama inherited his sexual tastes from the Dunhams [rather than from his father - Frank Marshall Davis or the Kenyan man or whomever], then it would go a long way towards explaining the otherwise jarringly incongruous presence of a Michelle or a Reggie in his life.

rightsaidfred said...

Something useful would be to break out achievement by kids of the same mother, but different father, and see how the kid's achievement compares to the father's. I.e., study step families.

I've known women who made a lateral move socioeconomically during their fertile years, and using the same books, cribs, sheets, and nurturing techniques raised new kids who closely matched their father's greater abilities.

Anonymous said...

Dat be so raciss.

Anonymous said...

Since obama gave back 5% of his salary. Miss obama wants to get on welfare and section 8 to get that "guap" back.

Occams razor strikes again.

ben tillman said...

Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.

How ironic that we read criticism of our society's aducation system in an article designed to make us stupid!

Svigor said...

If education is supposed to help redress inequities at birth

It shouldn't be.

and improve the lot of disadvantaged children as they grow up, it is not doing its job.

That's fine, as long as it doesn't stop there; education should be to help all students improve their own lot.

I think it's only sensible to worry about opportunities, and stop worrying so much about outcomes. Who knows? Maybe a more openly "sink or swim" attitude will help "disadvantaged" students self-motivate? Maybe not being quite so obviously het up about the poor "disadvantaged" students, not being quite so insistent that they be dragged across the finish line, will have salutary effects on their own motivation? Nothing says "You'd better get up and run" like "I'm not dragging you. Sit here if you want, bitch."

American students from prosperous backgrounds scored on average 110 points higher on reading tests than disadvantaged students, about the same disparity that exists between the average scores in the United States and Tunisia. It is perhaps the main reason income inequality in the United States is passed down the generations at a much higher rate than in most advanced nations.

Someone want to translate? What is this "It"?

In truth, Heckman's focus on preschool is too late. The real gap in environment that leads to different IQs is prenatal. It begins exactly 8 months and 29 days before birth.

But not a day earlier!


Nicely done.

This is off topic, possibly so for Steve's entire blog, but Michelle Obama referred to herself, oddly, as a "single mother" in an interview today. I don't know what to make of it. It's probably nothing, but just kind of interesting.

Occam says she conflated "single mother" and "black mother," but it could also be an impending divorce thing, or a lonely hausfrau thing, or even a homosexual beard thing.

Anonymous said...

The gap is enormous, one of the widest among the 65 countries taking part in the Program for International Student Achievement run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

American students from prosperous backgrounds scored on average 110 points higher on reading tests than disadvantaged students, about the same disparity that exists between the average scores in the United States and Tunisia.


Have the results from the United States studies been controlled for race?

Anonymous said...

It begins exactly 8 months and 29 days before birth.

But not a day earlier!


So you're a gestationist in addition to a raciss! Just wait until the preemie rights advocates hear about this.

Anonymous said...

So the solution is to have a "prosperous background"? But the school performance of adopted children resembles their birth family more than it resembles their adopted (rich) family. And whites from the lowest income decile outscore blacks from the top tenth. So maybe parent prosperity is somehow correlated with parental intelligence and parental intelligence is correlated with the intelligence of their offspring? Nah, better not to go there.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

An economist to look at this problem without understanding of genetics and IQ will never come up with a meaningful solution. It doesn't seem to stop them trying though."

Perhaps economists - even fake-Nobel-prize winning economists - are only just smart enough to fool other economists.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

"....., rather than to a swarthy-olive swash-buckling IDF officer like Rahm Emanuel,..."

Emmanuel was never in the IDF. He volunteered for a brief time as some kind of auxilliary - "repairing truck brakes", according to Wikipedia. That in itself sounds odd. Neither he nor anyone in his family has ever demonstrated any great mechanical aptitude - then all of sudden he works as a grease monkey.

jody said...

brazilian style demographics explain it better than anything, unless it was a within groups study of the rich versus the poor. they say the gap is as big inside the US as it is between the US and tunisia. well, that's because the US is becoming more like a tunisia.

liberals want to battle all the effects of their deliberate crusade to turn the US into the united nations, a multi-racial society which will naturally divide itself into tiers and in which the historic american middle class will be destroyed.

liberal rage against "the 1%" accumulating all the wealth, and liberal hand wringing against vastly divergent academic performance of the population, is due mainly to their insistence on obliterating a mostly homogenous nation that existed for centuries and turning it into the brazilian states of south africa.

yes, there will be a 1%, and a huge 50% poor underclass. just like latin america. because that's what liberals are turning the US into. they are surprised to discover that smart europeans and jews accumulate all the wealth and mestizos and africans accumulate little, and begin to make up a huge 80 million person strong and growing solid bloc of poor needy citizens.

when liberals run their numbers and wring their hands, looking at their academic and economic stastistics which say x number of people control y amount of wealth or x number of people attain y amount of education, look at how closely those figures and percentages match up with the burgeoning various groups in the US.

shouting from the rooftops "50% of the people accumulate no wealth at all, the american system is broken!" is really just a reflection of a 40 million strong african population and a growing mexican population, which would not accumulate wealth in any country on earth ever. in fact they're already in the best country on earth ever for purposes of accumulating wealth, so if they're not gonna do it here, they never will.

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel was never in the IDF. He volunteered for a brief time as some kind of auxilliary - "repairing truck brakes", according to Wikipedia. That in itself sounds odd. Neither he nor anyone in his family has ever demonstrated any great mechanical aptitude - then all of sudden he works as a grease monkey.

Dude - don't piss on The Narrative.

Now repeat after me: "swarthy-olive swash-buckling IDF officer".

They've got this discipline called Psychiatry devoted to the study of the heretics who dis The Narrative.

And once they've finished studying them, they've got this place called Siberia.

Anonymous said...

school doesn't make people smarter. people are as smart as they are pre-set to be. school can wire in some reading skills.

School is little more than a babysitter, beauty contest, and popularity contest. It has little educational value, and is geared more towards producing an elite class of bully-leaders.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Dude - don't piss on The Narrative.

Now repeat after me: "swarthy-olive swash-buckling IDF officer".""

Rahm Emmanuel is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life................

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIiOXff8A5Y

Anonymous said...

I am all for helping the children ! I mean, helping those poor white children who may grow up having to pay for those 'gapped' children.

And the best way to help the 'gapped' children themselves would be to make sure as few as possible are brought to this world.

blythe spirit said...

":I thought that she no longer feels married, because they stopped having sex once they had their two prop children, to authenticate their marriage in the public eye - the Clinton's one child didn't convince anybody. Deep down, I bet Barry would have preferred to marry a white girl, like the ones that filled his father's DREAMS. "

It still amazes me that people still think he wanted to marry any girl. Aside from his first-term fixation on Reggie Love, and info from his Chicago days, there's just the way he is. Don't you see it, fcol? And I don't even go 'round thinking I have a gaydar but I picked it up.
I mean, it's not like there's anything wrong with that.

btw, I doubt those kids are his genetically. Very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

What about research suggesting that poverty causes toxic stress which has an adverse affect on childhood development?

Some nonsense about toxic stress


So, during my childhood, I had a mechanic for a stepfather who was abusive when drunk. The toxic stress caused my mother to die when I was ten.

However, I went on to complete college and work in the computer industry and express my high IQ.

I think the study is bogus. Toxic stress. What a bogus concept.

Anonymous said...

blythe

agree. he's so gay or at least so ultra-swpl it's practically the same thing. even if he wasn't technically gay i can see him prefering hanging out with gay men - preferably French so he could do the hand gestures like a cool version of mime.

Anonymous said...

"school doesn't make people smarter. people are as smart as they are pre-set to be. school can wire in some reading skills. woo-hoo."

I've known very many grand-parents who are much better at mental arithmetic then their grand-children. This is because schools don't try to push kids to their full potential any more because it creates gaps only HBD can explain.

Schools might not be that relevant to self-starter type people once they know how to read but they can make a huge difference in whether or not people at the lower end reach their maximum potential imo.

If 80% of the population are being churned out of schools operating at say 30% below their maximum potential arithmetical ability that makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

"but Michelle Obama referred to herself, oddly, as a "single mother" in an interview today"

They're splitting up after his term ends imo.

Silver said...

An economist to look at this problem without understanding of genetics and IQ will never come up with a meaningful solution. It doesn't seem to stop them trying though.

Do you actually trust them to tell the truth, though? I don't. Some might sincerely believe all humans possess identical scholastic aptitude but heredity is such a simple process to grasp and the evidence substantiating it is so abundant and powerfully and elegantly presented that it's impossible to imagine someone with the smarts to earn a phd in economics wouldn't be convinced by that evidence after only a couple of hours poring over it. That's why I always suspect equalitarians are lying. They know damn well human inequality is a biological fact but they're so unsettled, disappointed, or terrified by its implications that they feel it's imperative to cover it up.

As desperate as things might seem today for hereditarians, on the bright side, euge^D^D^D^D^D 'genetic counselling' policies that, in some way, shape or form, essentially pay poor people to have fewer children can absolutely be relied upon to deliver results: they will definitely decrease inequality. Poor people with more money and fewer hungry mouths to have to feed with it live better and they pass on fewer of the (real) root causes of poverty to the next generation. Win-win.

Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of such a pay-to-prevent policy, at least as seen through an economist's eyes, is that no matter how much anyone shrieks about stigmatizing the poor (including the at risk of being stigmatized poor themselves) at the right price the poor will take the money and steri^D^D^D^D^D 'get genetic counselling', no matter how 'stigmatized' they feel, and if they do that then everyone in society wins.

HBD beats the insufferable bigotry of unrealistic expectations any day.

Anonymous said...

Ah, school and universal education through university.

Though some may have had different goals way back when they first came up with this idea (Scottish Enlightenment?), I thought its purpose today was to inoculate in all citizens an overwhelming desire to just sit there and follow the instructions of Benevolent Big Brother. Be sure to always wait for Teacher to tell you what to do, Teacher knows best. Isn't it nice teacher has a good government job?

Really, if almost everyone in the West hadn't been sitting in classrooms from near on the first 20-22 years of their life, would the West possibly be in the weird state it is in today? Would citizens that hadn't been "broken" like horses ("gentled") by this schooling experience possibly put up with what we put up with today?

I'd love to go on, but I gotta head for the barn.

Matthew said...

"school doesn't make people smarter. people are as smart as they are pre-set to be. school can wire in some reading skills. woo-hoo."

It always amazes me when people, from the realization that IQ is to a large degree hard-wired, conclude that therefore there is no point to attending school. WTF, seriously? So you're not gunna send your kids to grade school or college?

The purpose of attending school is to teach us many of facts and skills we need to know to function in this world, as well as to socialize us. Knowledge isn't hard-wired into our DNA, nor is socialization.

Anonymous said...

"Really, if almost everyone in the West hadn't been sitting in classrooms from near on the first 20-22 years of their life, would the West possibly be in the weird state it is in today? Would citizens that hadn't been "broken" like horses ("gentled") by this schooling experience possibly put up with what we put up with today?


I think it was Chomsky who said Education is a system of imposed ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"The purpose of attending school is to teach us many of facts and skills we need to know to function in this world, as well as to socialize us. Knowledge isn't hard-wired into our DNA, nor is socialization."

You can socialize without school. Most of school is just sitting quietly in class.

There are other ways to learn other than formal schooling that could actually not waste so much time.

Schools need to be rethought, but it's too much of a scam for teachers and it's good indoctrination into in globalist, anti-white thinking.

In other words, it's brainwashing to be non-racist and pro-diversity.

Cail Corishev said...

The purpose of attending school is to teach us many of facts and skills we need to know to function in this world, as well as to socialize us.

No it's not. The purpose of school is to put kids somewhere supervised during the day so their parents can get things done in an industrialized society. If any education happens while they're there, it's a happy little bonus.

Knowledge and skills come from books and experience. Being herded into a room with a bunch of other people equally ignorant to you isn't actually essential.

Anonymous said...

"Knowledge and skills come from books and experience. Being herded into a room with a bunch of other people equally ignorant to you isn't actually essential."

Some people stretch themselves to achieve their full potential. Most need to be stretched. They can be stretched individually but it's more cost-effective to do it in a group.

Anonymous said...

I saw the headline "Eight months and twenty-nine days" and started laughing immediately without even needing to read the article. I knew what was coming.