Thursday, November 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Attacks on achievement leave real problems unchallenged

sowell column sig

By
From page A9 | August 17, 2014 |

New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, like so many others who call themselves “progressive,” is gung-ho to solve social problems. In fact, he is currently on a crusade to solve an educational problem that doesn’t exist, even though there are plenty of other educational problems that definitely do exist.

The nonexistent problem is the use of tests to determine who gets admitted to the city’s three most outstanding public high schools – Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech. These admissions tests have been used for generations, and the students in these schools have had spectacular achievements for generations.

These achievements include many Westinghouse Science awards, Intel Science awards and – in later life – Pulitzer Prizes and multiple Nobel Prizes. Graduates of Bronx Science alone have gone on to win five Nobel Prizes in physics alone. There are Nobel Prize winners from Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech as well.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a motto that Mayor de Blasio and many other activist politicians pay no attention to. He is also out to curtail charter schools, which include schools that have achieved outstanding education results for poor minority students, who cannot get even adequate results in all too many of the other public schools.

What is wrong with charter schools and with elite high schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech? Despite their educational achievements, they have political problems.

The biggest political problem is that the teachers’ unions don’t like them – and the teachers’ unions are the 800-pound gorilla among the special interests in Bill de Blasio’s Democratic Party.

The next biggest political problem is that people who don’t pass the tests for the elite public high schools don’t want to have to pass tests to get in.

Their politicians have been denouncing these admissions tests for decades, and so have various other ethnic community “leaders.” These include spokesmen for “civil rights” organizations, who think their civil rights include getting into these elite schools, whether they qualify or not.

Finally, there are the intelligentsia, who all too often equate achievement with privilege. In times past, such people called Stuyvesant “a free prep school for Jews” and “a privileged little ivory tower.”

That was clever, but cleverness is not wisdom. Back in those days, Jewish youngsters were over-represented among the students at all three elite public high schools. Today it is Asian students who are a majority at those same schools – more than twice as many Asians as whites in all three schools.

Black and Hispanic students are rare at all three elite public high schools, and becoming rarer.

Many among the intelligentsia and politicians express astonishment that the ethnic makeup of these schools is so different from the demographic makeup of the city.

But such differences between groups are common in countries around the world. But in each country there are people who say that it is strange – and demand a “solution” to this “problem.”

In Malaysia, for example, before group quotas were established at the country’s universities, students from the Chinese minority earned more than 400 engineering degrees in the 1960s, while students from the Malay majority earned just four.

When a university was established in 19th century Romania, there were more German students than Romanian students, and most of the professors were German. The same was true for most of the 19th century when a university was established in Estonia.

In none of these cases did the group that was over-represented have any power to discriminate against groups that were under-represented.

If racism is the reason why there are so few blacks in Stuyvesant High School, why were blacks a far higher proportion in Stuyvesant in earlier times, as far back as 1938? Was there less racism in 1938? Was there less poverty among blacks in 1938?

We know that there were far fewer black children raised in single-parent homes back then and there was far less social degeneracy represented by things like gangsta rap. If Mayor de Blasio wants to solve real problems, let him take these on.

Thomas Sowell is an author, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano cheerleaders travel to NYC for holiday parade

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Let’s honor veterans throughout year

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Lawyers outline strategy in Fairfield homicide case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
 
Suisun City Hall critic takes town to task over residential ‘junkyard’

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

 
 
NAACP chapter to conduct officer elections

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Sport Chalet offers underwater photos with Santa

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B5

Nut Tree to donate vintage barn doors to ReStore

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B5

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 4 Comments

Weather for Nov. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Analyst: No ‘fiscal cliff’ when tax hikes end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Tuition hikes tentatively approved in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Police: Gunman killed after shooting at FSU

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to announce immigration action Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 23 Comments

Cuban couple keeps rodents called hutias as pets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Self-driving cars: safer, but what of their morals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

5 children in San Jose home with barricade man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Berkeley OKs plan for gas-pump climate change labels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

First of 3 storms douses fields, delays flights

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Vets’ moms to Congress: Boost suicide prevention

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Buffalo area hit with epic snow – with more coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Right-to-die advocate’s video out after death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Early statin use may give long-term heart benefits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Health system reveals hospital gown to cover rears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Police: Man crawled into sunken car, saved baby

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
CDC chief drops worst-case Ebola estimate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

New Kurdish offensive targets Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US airstrike hits al-Qaida-held town in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hotel charges couple for negative review of it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
New US ambassador has tough job in Moscow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Military leader becomes Burkina Faso prime minster

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
CERN scientists discover 2 new subatomic particles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Kerry in diplomatic overdrive on Iran nuclear deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
N. Korea threatens to beef up military capability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Colombian girl’s dad had her swallow cocaine caps

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
.

Opinion

 
Gambling on Proposition 47

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

How and why the GOP won

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A7, 8 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My lady’s mother doesn’t like me and wants me to move out

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Library honoring Billy Joel with pop music prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin dies at age 78

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Multiple fractures for Bono in NY bicycle accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Auction of Presley items set for January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Brooks apologizes to 49ers for harsh words

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Chiefs look to avoid letdown vs. winless Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Carrie, Rogers out for Raiders with injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Butler and A’s finalize $30 million, 3-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Rudy Gay happy to be with Sacramento Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Union, NFL at odds over personal conduct policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA suspends Hornets’ Jeffery Taylor 24 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanton signs record $325M deal at news conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nothing settled going into LPGA Tour finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collins, NBA’s 1st openly gay player, to retire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL fines Lynch $50,000 for not speaking to media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NASCAR’s Kurt Busch meets with investigators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Yahoo replaces Google as Firefox’s default search

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Showdown looms between US gov’t, air bag maker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Obama picks NTSB member as new auto safety chief

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
JetBlue to add bag fees on cheapest tickets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

US stocks drift lower after release of Fed minutes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Automakers debut key models at L.A. Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9