You may have heard our beloved president, Mr. Obama, make a speech about income inequality in the United States.
He strongly suggested that “we” were responsible for the fact that some had more money than they needed while others could barely support their families. Since this supposed unfairness has been a staple of the Democratic Party’s propaganda for well over a century, there was nothing really new in the president’s speech.
Before digging any deeper into the “unfairness” claim, think about the Fairfield-Suisun School District.
Don’t the high schools offer advanced placement for college-bound students with good grades? Wouldn’t you suspect that those in these classes are admitted to the better four-year colleges in greater numbers than students with mediocre grades? Certainly there are students who have trouble in school for reasons, such as turmoil in their families, that are essentially beyond their control. I would guess, or rather hope, that educators make every effort to guide every student on a path that leads to fulfillment of his or her potential.
Of course, a student’s success is not solely up to the educators. The family environment is extremely important, such that children in two-parent homes have a greater chance of academic success than those with only one parent. But there are three other factors that are greater predictors of success. Unfortunately, educators have to tiptoe around them, and, in some circles, they are considered taboo.
One is the IQ of the student. Another is the vocabulary of the student’s parents. The third, and I’m sure there are many more, is the discipline to study provided by the parents.
Some years ago, Scientific American had an important article discussing reasons for success among Asian-American students. Aside from differences in intellectual ability, it was the regimen insisted on by the parents. A student, who ate dinner with his family, usually at the kitchen table, did not even get up after eating. His or her study materials were on the table as soon as dinner was over, and the average time spent on homework was three hours.
So is it any surprise that the freshman classes at the University of California, Berkeley and UCLA were recently made up of 47 percent Asian-Americans? That’s probably at least five times their percentage in the state’s population. But there was no mention of that by the president.
Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at Bsteven254@aol.com.