October 8, 2013

OECD: American adults are innumerate, especially immigrants

From the NYT:
U.S. Adults Fare Poorly in a Study of Skills
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

American adults lag well behind their counterparts in most other developed countries in the mathematical and technical skills needed for a modern workplace, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study, perhaps the most detailed of its kind, shows that the well-documented pattern of several other countries surging past the United States in students’ test scores and young people’s college graduation rates corresponds to a skills gap, extending far beyond school. In the United States, young adults in particular fare poorly compared with their international competitors of the same ages — not just in math and technology, but also in literacy. 
More surprisingly, even middle-aged Americans — who, on paper, are among the best-educated people of their generation anywhere in the world — are barely better than middle of the pack in skills. 

Hey, it was the 70s, man. What did you expect?
... The study is the first based on new tests developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a coalition of mostly developed nations, and administered in 2011 and 2012 to thousands of people, ages 16 to 65, by 23 countries. Previous international skills studies have generally looked only at literacy, and in fewer countries. 
The organizers assessed skills in literacy and facility with basic math, or numeracy, in all 23 countries. In 19 countries, there was a third assessment, called “problem-solving in technology-rich environments,” on using digital devices to find and evaluate information, communicate, and perform common tasks. 
In all three fields, Japan ranked first and Finland second in average scores, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway near the top. Spain, Italy and France were at or near the bottom in literacy and numeracy, and were not included in the technology assessment. 
The United States ranked near the middle in literacy and near the bottom in skill with numbers and technology. In number skills, just 9 percent of Americans scored in the top two of five proficiency levels, compared with a 23-country average of 12 percent, and 19 percent in Finland, Japan and Sweden. 
“The first question these kinds of studies raise is, ‘If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?’ ” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “Our economic advantage has been having high skill levels at the top, being big, being more flexible than the other economies, and being able to attract other countries’ most skilled labor. But that advantage is slipping.”

This is very much of a recent assumption that America is rich from being smart.  Older generations would have assumed that Americans were rich from having good institutions, being cooperative, enterprising, hard working, and having stolen a nice continent from the poor Indians, not from Americans being particularly smart. The U.S., for instance, barely won any Nobel Prizes before the late 1920s, yet America had the highest standard of living of any large country in the world.
In several ways, the American results were among the most polarized between high achievement and low. Compared with other countries with similar average scores, the United States, in all three assessments, usually had more people in the highest proficiency levels, and more in the lowest. The county also had an unusually wide gap in skills between the employed and the unemployed. 
In the most highly educated population, people with graduate and professional degrees, Americans lagged slightly behind the international averages in skills. 
But the gap was widest at the bottom; among those who did not finish high school, Americans had significantly worse skills than their counterparts abroad. 
“These kinds of differences in skill sets matter a lot more than they used to, at every level of the economy,” Dr. Carnevale said. “Americans were always willing to accept a much higher level of inequality than other developed countries because there was upward mobility, but we’ve lost a lot of ground to other countries on mobility because people don’t have these skills.” 
Among 55- to 65-year-olds, the United States fared better, on the whole, than its counterparts. But in the 45-to-54 age group, American performance was average, and among younger people, it was behind.

Like I said, you can't expect anybody to have learned anything during the 1970s.
American educators often note that the nation’s polyglot nature can inhibit performance, though there is sharp debate over whether that is a short-run or long-run effect. 
The new study shows that foreign-born adults in the United States have much poorer-than-average skills, but even the native-born scored a bit below the international norms. White Americans fared better than the multicountry average in literacy, but were about average in the math and technology tests.

So, what's the point again of the Schumer-Rubio bill to expand immigration?

59 comments:

Cail Corishev said...

I like math. I was the best math student any of my teachers had ever seen. I think basic math skills are an important thing for every citizen to have.

And yet, I wonder: how many people actually need math to be productive in their jobs, especially in this age of computers? You don't need to be able to figure compound interest on a loan anymore. Heck, you don't even have to be able to add a column of numbers. You might need to know what column to put the numbers in, but that's accounting, or design, or logic, not math.

If Americans have slipped from, let's say, an 8th grade level to a 6th-grade level, then keeping in mind that the people who actually use math in their jobs are going to be the ones still learning it at a 12-grade-plus level, is anyone going to be any less productive?

Also, this is all about comparing with other countries, so couldn't it be that we're just as good at math as we used to be, but other countries have caught up and passed us? Maybe while the Japanese are preparing to win math awards and the Indians are getting ready to kill us in spelling bees, Americans are learning those skills well enough to get on with designing and building things. There has to be a point of diminishing returns on those skills. (And of course this all ignores that we know some countries cheat like crazy on such tests.)

I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice if Americans had better math skills. A better understanding of statistics and probabilities, and the ability to estimate interest, might make it harder for government to sucker us with lotteries and debt-financed spending sprees. But more math classes in school -- like Gates's push to get all kids through Algebra II -- won't change that, especially when we're importing millions more innumerate workers every year.

Perspective said...

The daily mail has a detailed table of the rankings for all the countries that participated.
For numeracy, the Netherlands, Finland and Japan scored at the top. In literacy, Japan, Finland and the Netherlands were the best performers. Poorer countries such as Estonia and Poland also did fairly well.
England continues to fall, and its combined scores of numeracy and literacy are no better than the US. England was one of the few countries where the younger cohort did worse than the older age group.

Evil Sandmich said...

If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?

I've wondered that about neighbors of the past, until they have to declare bankruptcy and/or get busted for dealing drugs.

Anonymous said...

I think the main impact of this result, if true, is access to high paying, skilled employment. If a company engaged in manufacturing, can't find labor sufficiently educated and skilled for the jobs, they will look elsewhere around the globe for a place that can do so (all things equal). Forget the esoteric aspects, such as Nobel prizes.

Simon in London said...

The British media however are reporting that the UK is the only country where in absolute terms the children know less than their grandparents, so you must have beaten us on something. :)

Anonymous said...

" you can't expect anybody to have learned anything during the 1970s."

or the 80's 90's 00's 10s ...

Yeah you can blame it all on Albert Shanker

But then again the Black Board Jungle was about New York City schools in the late 1940s.

Zachariah Montgomery and Richard Grant White were writing that public school was a wasteland in the 1880s.

The USA had to hire a Swede to build the Monitor to defend Washington DC from Virginia.

Anonymous said...

All the USA chest thumpers that claim that the USA will rule the world forever (Stratfor, Bloombergs, NYT, The Economist etc.), all seem to leave out the part where the population will consist of people from countries they they dismiss as nobodies, yet somehow being in America these same people will continue ruling the world ?

Inversely, China is always dismissed as a no hoper (smog, one child policy, water shortage etc.), yet China is actively pursuing a superior population policy, even eugenics, yet that is ignored as if having a superior population does not lead to greater things. I mean who need numeracy if you have diversity, right ?

Simon in London said...

There are some striking comparisons - http://www.oecd-berlin.de/charts/PIAAC/
eg Estonia and the Czech Republic do well, while Italy does very badly.

Anonymous said...

Another international, longitudinal study published recently, (sorry can't remember which), found that although American students in general fared badly, white American students, if stripped out of that milieu, were amongst the world's best performers.

Contra to the pontifications of Charles Murray, there is no crisis in white America.

Anonymous said...

So, what's the point again of the Schumer-Rubio bill to expand immigration?
Good point, asked Ted Cruz that who wants his state to go from 5 percent Asian to 10 percent by supporting 300,000 H1b vistas.

Anonymous said...

Hey, it was the 70s, man. What did you expect?
That's true a lot of guys with Dyslexia who are middle age have small business and their wives did the paper work.

Anonymous said...

"In the most highly educated population, people with graduate and professional degrees, Americans lagged slightly behind the international averages in skills." - I'd like to suggest that this may be a result of the pronounced tendency to over-credential in the United States. A very high proportion of our "highly educated" population comprises not terribly intelligent or learned persons who became credentialed as lawyers, professional educators, sociologists, etc., to gain a career advantage. Affirmative action in graduate and professional programs exacerbates the problem. It's been accelerated by court decisions like Griggs v Duke Power which force employers to replace measures of competence with credentials when hiring and promoting. In other countries there are very strong barriers to all except the most accomplished and dedicated becoming members of the educated intelligentsia.

Anonymous said...

" you can't expect anybody to have learned anything during the 1970s."

or the 80's 90's 00's 10s ...

Yeah you can blame it all on Albert Shanker

But then again the Black Board Jungle was about New York City schools in the late 1940s.

I doubt you will find a period when the public school system in the US worked.

Anonymous said...



In other MSM news:

San Francisco Chronicle: Fear Black Influx Will Erase West Oakland History

"The heart of European American culture in the Bay Area, if not the West Coast, is now a real estate agent's dream. Thousands of transplants from San Francisco, mostly younger, mostly black people lured east by lower rents, have discovered the sunny enclaves of West Oakland and staked their claims...

"In some West Oakland census tracts, the number of black residents has doubled in the past 10 years, bringing their numbers to nearly equal with their European American counterparts...

"Over the same period, thousands of European American families have left the neighborhood, mostly heading to eastern Contra Costa and Solano counties.

"Some European Americans say the influx of black people has triggered a rise in rents and housing prices, pricing out white families from the neighborhoods their families have lived in for generations. Others say European Americans started leaving West Oakland years ago due to crime and schools, leaving vacancies for newcomers - in this case, mostly young people enticed by the good weather, proximity to San Francisco and block after block of affordable Victorians and ultramodern condos.

"In any case, West Oakland looks a lot different than it did a decade ago..."

Paul Mendez said...

Among 55- to 65-year-olds, the United States fared better, on the whole, than its counterparts. But in the 45-to-54 age group, American performance was average, and among younger people, it was behind.

I was born in 1957. When I started grade school was when "New Math" and other trendy concepts were being introduced that eliminated memorization in favor of "critical thinking."

My mother, appalled that we were not being taught the times tables, made us memorize them at home. She also taught us phonetics. While I hated it at the time, it's amazing what an advantage being able to sound out words and do simple math in your head gives you.

pat said...

There is a natural hierarchy of math skills.

First is the ability to add. Then subtract. Then multiply. Then divide.

In my experience most adults don't get much further than this. I doubt if half of all Americans can do long division. I once applied for a job as a management consultant in which the qualifying exam was long division. I was the only one in a group of 20 candidates who could make it pass that first test.

Then comes applied math skills like being able to compute a percentage. The government is filled with senior managers for whom this is a 'Bridge too Far'.

In High School you classically have plane geometry, algebra and trigonometry. Many women can handle plane geometry but almost none can grasp algebra. Sorry to have to say that but you know it's true.

Then we get to what are in America college level subjects - calculus and statistics. I taught both of these but I suspect that very damn few of my students have retained much. Differential calculus is quite easy but integral calculus is challenging. In statistics almost anyone can understand descriptive statistics but only about one in thirty ever really 'gets' inferential stat.

I used to do a little shtick in my math classes. I'd challenge the class for anyone who was good at math. Then I would ask the volunteer to tell me the seventeenth root of 4,183 (or some such). Of course they couldn't do it. Then I would give the answer from my pocket calculator which had less brain power than a cockroach. The point was that all human beings are bad at math. It's a defining characteristic of the species.

Crows have superior essential cardinality than people. There are some math oriented problems that are better handled by bonobos. Not to mention the African Gray Parrot.

Someday soon people will be good at math. That is when we have implants in our brains. We will be able to know all of Wikipedia too. We will have HBO on tap.

But with our present natural brains you have to say that no person is now or ever has been good at math.

Think of it like the ability to appreciate flowers. People really can't see flowers because they can't see into the ultraviolet. With our poor inadequate vision we can grasp a little of what's going on but the flowers are trying to impress insects not mammals.

Albertosaurus

ben tillman said...

“The first question these kinds of studies raise is, ‘If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?’ ” said Anthony P. Carnevale....

What did Ben Franklin say in "Observations concerning The Increase of Mankind" in 1751?

sunbeam said...

“Our economic advantage has been having high skill levels at the top, being big, being more flexible than the other economies, and being able to attract other countries’ most skilled labor. But that advantage is slipping.”

Regarding the point "and being able to attract other countries’ most skilled labor."

Does any other country in the world actually have a large presence of another countries' skilled labor as a very noticeable presence?

I mean does China have swarms of Americans, Indians, or Japanese working in their electronics industry?

Does Fujitsu have lots of anyone besides Japanese doing research and engineering for them?

Does Germany have companies or universities with lots of foreigners researching away?

My take is that this is pretty much an Anglosphere thing. Canada, US, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand.

The epicenter would be the US. I'm not sure that the other countries I listed have as high a proportion of non-native born doing "skilled" things in their countries.

In short we are the only ones playing that game. And I'm not sure there is any historical parallel to it.

I'd gladly like to read more about this and how it turned out if that's the case. But I'm kind of drawing a blank on that right now.

Farang said...

Among 55- to 65-year-olds, the United States fared better, on the whole, than its counterparts. But in the 45-to-54 age group, American performance was average, and among younger people, it was behind.
The more diverse the age group, the lower the literacy and numeracy skills. Speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

That must esplain why Mexicans in America have so many kids. They keep losing count.

Anonymous said...

The ill effects our immigration policy was going to have on America's first-world workforce were predicted in 1991 by a Japanese professor.

Rather than listening to him, he was immediately attacked and America was assured that Hispanics would help us maintain our high tech edge.

Anonymous said...

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

Mexican Steve Jobs. But he looks all white.

Anonymous said...

World War Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wow, that sucked.

Horace Staccato said...

Remove all the lively vibrants from this "study" and suddenly you will find that we rank not too far below Finns and Germans.

At my job I frequently need to find percentages between two columns of numbers by simple cross-multiplying. Among some of the lively vibrants in the newsroom I have gained the reputation of being a math whiz as a result.

One of them asked me how in the hell I had learned such a thing. I said, "I don't know. Eighth grade maybe?"

ATBOTL said...

The real reason we are rich, other than NW European genes, is that we have all this land.

If Sweden or the Netherlands had a chance to colonize a land as big and resource rich as the US....

"Contra to the pontifications of Charles Murray, there is no crisis in white America."

I'm still waiting to start hearing about those white public schools that are warzones, like Chuckie promised back in 1994.

dearieme said...

‘If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?’

Ore, oil and soil has a lot to do with it, and avoiding much in the way of socialism and trade union power. For a long time you needed to spend very little on your army, your Atlantic coast was defended free as a consequence of the Royal Navy, and your west coast needed no defence at all. All in all, the dominant principles of Expel the Indian, Oppress the Negro and Invade the Neighbours gave good results.

Mark Plus said...

"Hey, it was the 70s, man. What did you expect?"

You mean you didn't read all the books by Bertrand Russell you could find, like I did in high school?

dufus maximus said...

All very interesting, but it's well established that Americans lead the world in hand-to-mouth coordination, and American youths have an unwavering faith in and near-encyclopedic understanding of who/whom distinctions, LGBTQLMNOP rights, and global climate warming change. You know, the really important stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Contra to the pontifications of Charles Murray, there is no crisis in white America."

Visit some white trashvilles.

And even though elite colleges still attract much talent, check out their humanities and English departments. They are jokes, even at Ivy Leagues.

countenance said...

Re Charles Murray and the "white crisis"

I happen to think that he got so much flack for breaking the race-IQ taboo with "The Bell Curve" that he thought he had no choice but to say something bad about white people.

The main problem with "Coming Apart" is that it treats what are really dependent variables as independent variables. IOW, Murray assumes that some of the features of black dysfunction are really root causes that, if applied to anyone, will cause as much chaos as blacks experience, (because blacks cause them). Murray sees both single motherhood among blacks and high crime among blacks, and presumes that single motherhood is the independent variable and crime is the dependent variable. So he obviously concludes that the rates of single parent households among whites is increasing, this obviously means that eventually, white areas will become crime-ridden ghettos, scaled down proportionally to percentage terms.

But it hasn't happened, and very very likely won't happen. There are high rates of single motherhood among white Swedes in Sweden, yet are white Swedes ghetto thugs? No.

The reality is that both single parenthood and crime are dependent variables relating to other perhaps disparate and unrelated independent variables. Among blacks, single motherhood and violent crime are dependent variables, the independent variable being race differences in IQ and frontal lobe development and also being in environmental conditions where what we call "promiscuity" was an evolutionary advantage. It does NOT mean that single motherhood causes violent crime.

Should white people and white societies eventually address some of the issues that "Coming Apart" addresses? Yes. But it's certainly not some emergency existential crisis that we have to get to right away.

carol said...

Visit some white trashvilles.

Sometimes I think the level of stupid has been roughly constant, that a lot of the guys who are being judged now would have dropped out of school and gone to work as loggers, truckers, millworkers, miners or whatever. So that the proportion of illiterate-innumerates today would equal the proportion that didn't finish 12th grade say back in 1940.

countenance said...

Cail Corishev

Properly placing numbers in columns or rows isn't even real financial or managerial accounting, it's bookkeeping.

With math, if you're not exceptional at it, you might as well be average to bad at it. There aren't way too many fields that require one to have a well above average but below exceptional command of math skills. You're right, it is not a crisis that the average white person can't do anything more than relatively simple algebra.

Spelling bees: I used to be big into all these "bees." Then I reached the age of 12 and discovered on my own the futility of it all. So what if you can spell words correctly that 99.99% of the people will never use in their lives? About the Indians, dot not feather, winning spelling bees, so what? What good is it that 12-year old Patel and Pradesh can spell every word in the dictionary correctly but India itself is such a stinking dump?

"If we're so dumb, why are we so rich?"

Who's "we?" We're not dumb, "we're" dumb because blacks and Hispanics are dragging down our averages.

Incidentally, the word I have to type to prove that I'm not a spammer is "MexPerv." LOL.

Anonymous said...

Many women can handle plane geometry but almost none can grasp algebra. Sorry to have to say that but you know it's true.

True, but with a notable exception. I work with high school dropouts (kickouts) who are trying to get a high school diploma. Many of the white girls are bad-ass and criminally-minded as you like. They give the impression of being dykes, but most are not. They like boys and they want kids. Almost to a girl, they are exceptionally good at math, even high end math. The brown and black girls, and the white girls who one would classify as feminine, generally don't understand much math past the basics. It's interesting to me, because I wonder if somehow, certain girls get a higher than normal shot of testosterone, making them confident, aggressive and good at math.

Anonymous said...

Year after year now in England we have been treated to the spectacle of record GCSE results which never ever fail to surpass the previous year. The government always eschews any notion of grade inflation and always attributes the phenomenom to effort and improved teaching. Just what the hell is really going on in English education.?

Anonymous said...

This media coverage is a prime example of innumeracy.

There's a lot of prose about dumb Americans, and then at the end there's a throwaway line about how white Americans score at or above the international average.

Controlling for important variables shouldn't be an afterthought. It should be done from the outset.

I almost feel bad for the people who study education policy. If it weren't for PC stupidity, they might actually have more carefully constructed apples-to-apples comparisons to work with. Perhaps meaningful policy inferences could be made from such data. For example, how do middle-class German-Americans compare to middle-class Germans? The results of that question might actually highlight strengths and weaknesses of American education.

That said, I don't feel too bad for the education policy people and the journalists who cover these stories. Their preference for the Narrative over empiricism is precisely the problem.

Like I said, it's innumeracy. It's all so meta, bro!

eah said...

Since race doesn't exist, I guess it wouldn't be at all interesting to break down the results for the US by race. I guess.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Japan. Compare it to Britain or the US. Compare Japanese white collar office plankton with US professionals, Japanese with high school diplomas to US graduates... scary stuff...

And yet, Japan barely has an EU-15 GDP per capita, some of the longest working hours in the world, and a high suicide rate. They're not getting a lot out of being so smart, other than a low crime rate.

Anonymous said...

Simon in London said...

The British media however are reporting that the UK is the only country where in absolute terms the children know less than their grandparents, so you must have beaten us on something

No, I suspect you are interpreting that incorrectly. A large proportion of 'British' children of today are not related to the British children of three generations ago. There is on average actually some genetic distance.

Come on Simon, you live in London. Do you think it looked like that 50 years ago?

There are some striking comparisons - http://www.oecd-berlin.de/charts/PIAAC/
eg Estonia and the Czech Republic do well, while Italy does very badly.


Well I've never been to Italy, or Estonia. But after watching Gomorra, I got the impression Italy is kinda vibrant these days, and Italians aren't having kids.

But I've been to Prague, and it looked pretty pale. And why go to Estonia, when you can come to Britain. No I guess Estonia is also full of palefaces.

Anonymous said...

* Second to my comment about comparing US to Japan, I realised you didn't link the complete data:

http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/

Also take a look at Finland, which does nearly as well as Japan... but how? They haven diametrically opposite educational systems: hippie learn-through-play in Finland vs rigidly conformist rote learning in Japan. Does anything teachers do matter at all? Can we replace them with a bunch of videos with rent-a-cops to police attendance?

Anonymous said...

If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?

Cuz weer a nation of dumb but hardworeking jocks with world-famouse social skills.

Cail Corishev said...

"Sometimes I think the level of stupid has been roughly constant, that a lot of the guys who are being judged now would have dropped out of school and gone to work as loggers, truckers, millworkers, miners or whatever."

And many of the not-so-stupid did the same. Some of my great-uncles quit school after eighth grade to work on the farm, and went on to be carpenters. They hadn't taken a geometry or trig course, but they could use a square to determine the rafter length needed depending on the width and height of a roof.

That's partly because people learned more in grade school back then; but it's also because many men who wanted to farm or work at a trade got out of school as soon as possible and got on with life.

E. Rekshun said...

"If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?...Our economic advantage has been having high skill levels at the top, being big, being more flexible than the other economies, and being able to attract other countries’ most skilled labor."

Oh, that and the 1st and 5th Amendments to the Bill of Rights.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I think the level of stupid has been roughly constant, that a lot of the guys who are being judged now would have dropped out of school and gone to work as loggers, truckers, millworkers, miners or whatever. So that the proportion of illiterate-innumerates today would equal the proportion that didn't finish 12th grade say back in 1940."

The problem is not lack of fancy learning. One can be 'illiterate/innumerate' and still be a man of dignity with workman pride. I mean the culture and attitudes. It's really trashy in the bad parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. The girls are skanks and guys are like white gorillas. Cringe-worthy.

Anonymous said...

Well, reading a liberal publication I came across that Harris County is about now 52 percent Hispanic in the under 18 population around 2011. Republicans think they have Texas in their finger but 52 precent of the kids 18 and under means unless the Mexican kids moved somewhere else the largest county in Texas is going Mexican even Travis where Austin is has more Mexicans in the younger age group.

Anonymous said...

Also, Harris has a large teen birth rate around 51 percent even La is about 32 percent with all the Mexican kids. Conservative Christian policy doesn't work with a lot of Hispanics and a slightly higher than average black kid population at 19 percent.

countenance said...

Anon @ 10/8/13, 5:56 PM

But it will take longer than the libs think it will to flip Texas red. Hispanics vastly underperform relative to their numbers in terms of political participation. They were of 8.4% of all voters in Nov. 2012 in spite of being something like 15% of the population. In California, where they're almost a numerical majority, Hispanics cast only 21% of all votes in Nov. 2012. And this is a high minority turnout Presidential cycle no less.

Anonymous said...

American educators often note that the nation’s polyglot nature can inhibit performance

But...but diversity is our greatest strength godammit!

Anonymous said...

The British media however are reporting that the UK is the only country where in absolute terms the children know less than their grandparents, so you must have beaten us on something

Im guessing the youngsters tested arent, in many cases, the grandchildren of of British people or even of white Europeans.

Mike said...

I lend money and frequently deal with the question "Do you guys charge interest on this?". The level of sheer stupidity on daily display is breathtaking.
One person that sticks out in my mind is a very highly educated person with a high level job in Silicon Valley. She insisted that her house would go up in value at 10% for eternity. When I did the math for her of the complete impossibility of this happening she refused to believe it.

Anonymous said...

"In High School you classically have plane geometry, algebra and trigonometry. Many women can handle plane geometry but almost none can grasp algebra. Sorry to have to say that but you know it's true."

I've always noted the opposite- women being relatively better at algebra than geometry at the high school level.

Edo Lasani said...

"Like I said, you can't expect anybody to have learned anything during the 1970s."

There was more than a bit of truth in the movie 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

Anonymous said...

The ill effects our immigration policy was going to have on America's first-world workforce were predicted in 1991 by a Japanese professor.

Rather than listening to him, he was immediately attacked and America was assured that Hispanics would help us maintain our high tech edge.
Actually, Mexicans don't do much worst than poor whites in certain states, historically but since they are younger and still have more children it has more of a negative impact. Whites in West Virginia and Kentucky are declining. It will take 20 years for Mexican birth rates to not gain as much.

Anonymous said...

Well, reading a liberal publication I came across that Harris County is about now 52 percent Hispanic in the under 18 population around 2011. Republicans think they have Texas in their finger but 52 precent of the kids 18 and under means unless the Mexican kids moved somewhere else the largest county in Texas is going Mexican even Travis where Austin is has more Mexicans in the younger age group."

It's pretty sad to read this sort of stuff, considering that Texas is American precisely because Mexico had a shortsighted and naive immigration policy in the 1820s-30s. Remember the Alamo?

That's not to say that Texas will literally become Mexican again, but it will certainly cease to be the uber-American, conservative red state in which which Texans take such pride.

When I think about Texas, Arizona, etc., it seems clear that the American nation, as traditionally understood, needs to determine whether it can endure in the existing political union ASAP. If, as seems increasingly likely, the American state cannot be preserved as an expression of the American nation as such, then the secession of as much territory as possible must occur while the window is still open.

To put it differently, on current trends Texas and other regions of the country are like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled. For this slow dissolution to continue is the worst possible case; the Union must be saved soon or exited soon. If the salvation of the Union or the secession of the nation aren't realized soon, neither will be realized at all.

I know that sounds polemical, but I can see this slowly-boiling-frog tragedy in progress, and it grieves me, and I just don't know what we can do to force the issue.

Anonymous said...

RICHARD P_REZ-PE_A

"Alright, Ms. Abramson, it's your turn."

"I'd like to buy some vibrancy."

"What have we got, Vanna?...There are two accented letters!"

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

"Well, Ms. Abramson, you've solved the puzzle, which means that you'll soon be on your way to...the iconic Costa del Diversidad! Where you'll spend a week sipping pina coladas poolside at the five-star Hotel Toquenismo! Lucky you!"

Cail Corishev said...

"Actually, Mexicans don't do much worst than poor whites in certain states, historically but since they are younger and still have more children it has more of a negative impact."

Thing is, even if Mexicans did just as well in every way as poor, uneducated whites -- would anyone suggest a national policy of trying to get the poorest, least-successful whites to reproduce more? No, when it comes to poor, white Americans, the elites hand out free birth control and push sex education and zero-population policies through the schools. Is anyone suggesting that we bring over millions of the poorest Irish or Polish? No, that's not the plan either.

Only poor Mexicans, Arabs, and Africans can make us excel and prosper.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Also take a look at Finland, which does nearly as well as Japan... but how? They haven diametrically opposite educational systems: hippie learn-through-play in Finland vs rigidly conformist rote learning in Japan. Does anything teachers do matter at all? Can we replace them with a bunch of videos with rent-a-cops to police attendance?


Finns do well and have done well for decades, but their trajectory is not as impressive as, say, South Korea's. It's almost as if Finns (and other Nordics) have been living on social capital built decades ago while South Koreans are ramping theirs up massively.

Here is an interesting tidbit:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ind_pat_app_res_percap-patent-applications-residents-per-capita

Japan and South Korea are nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Finland does well at no. 7 until one realizes the substantial gap in the per capita numbers: roughly 2800 and 2200 per million for the two East Asian countries and under 400 per million among Finns.

These were 2004 numbers, I would not be surprised to see that the gap is greater today.

Arguably patents per capita are a good proxy for measuring "creativity," which I understand these "Asians" allegedly lack.

Or perhaps As Dr. Philippe Rushton speculated, we may be entering the world-historical phase in which the moderate European interlude in civilization building (based on high aggression combined with temporary military-technological advantage) is receding while East Asians revert to the world-historical norm of civilizational supremacy.

JN

gloria said...

You place an awful lot of emphasis on Nobel Prizes as the barometer for smartness. Doesn't make a lot of sense, though it is one thing to look for. Nobel Prizes can be as political as the Academy Awards or any other supposedly merit based trophy. I have read of incredible work being done in the world of science (often out of the mainstream, yet verifiably workable) which is ignored because it would not make anyone any money, for one thing. Quite the contrary.

The U.S. was producing a jaw-dropping number of inventions, especially after the Civil War. Many of these were mundane, yet made an enormouse difference in the quality of life. btw, ultimate genius, Nicola Tesla (who was cheated by Edison, I believe), chose America to live in and work in from the late 1880s until his death in the 40s.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty sad to read this sort of stuff, considering that Texas is American precisely because Mexico had a shortsighted and naive immigration policy in the 1820s-30s. Remember the Alamo?
Actually, the worst immigration was in modern times, thanks to many Texas governors allowing business cheap labor. Texas was only 13 percent Hispanic in 1970 and now 39 percent. So, it wasn't really the 19th century but the 20th century and 21st Century just like California. In fact Rick Perry aid Chuck Devore supported the hispanization of Orange County Ca where he use to live and now Texas where he lives now because of cheap labor.

gloria said...

"In High School you classically have plane geometry, algebra and trigonometry. Many women can handle plane geometry but almost none can grasp algebra. Sorry to have to say that but you know it's true."

I've always noted the opposite- women being relatively better at algebra than geometry at the high school level."

The smartest kid in the 8th grade was a girl, who by high school was pretending to be dumb and suddenly did poorly in math. Her reason, to my disgust, was that "boys don't like girls who are good in math."
That was a long time ago but...

some "boys" never change.
I expect you may be one of them--
perhaps they were duping you with their feminine whiles.

My sister-in-law is a high school math teacher for nearly 40 years; she does tend to defer to my brother (a physics major) for some of the stuff, but getting algebra was not a problem. She did take a lot of gaff and sneers from a few males back in the early 70s. Feminists were not entirely wrong in their assessment of quite a few things.
btw, the only math I ever did well in was geometry. But simply through life experience I can now tally a restaurant bill for 6 people and figure the tip without a calculator.