Sunday, October 19, 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

Snakes, superheroes liven up Halloween Howl

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano looks at future of freight rail service

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Are your heroes the good and honorable type?

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Alpha Color Blast brings messy fun to participants

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Italian Festival brings out the Italian in everyone

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council to examine zoning changes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Cover cropping your home garden

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Seven nutritional soundbites for kids

By Kate Land Md | From Page: C4

 
More than planes draws crowd to Nut Tree Airport

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

A cut above: Hair-raising time at Locks of Love event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Voter registration deadline is Monday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Pots and pans, patios and more at home and garden show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Weather for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
Architecture that inspires present for all to see

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Service members from county complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
‘Choice card’ doubts swirl as deadline nears

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

Suisun City Police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

First US Ebola victim remembered for compassion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Another year, another small Social Security bump

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

Family identify 4 kids, 2 adults killed in blaze

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Cops: Remains may be those of missing UVa. student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

Police: Another ambush suspect sighting reported

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Hawaii island hit by winds, rains from hurricane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraq lawmakers approve interior, defense ministers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, China vow to manage rifts ahead of Obama visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Container ship adrift again off Canadian coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
9 more bodies push Nepal blizzard death toll to 38

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Market week ends on high note

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Why I’m voting for Proposition 1

By Richard L. Wood | From Page: A8, 21 Comments

Time to vote: Do so wisely

By Rod Keck | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

 
Sound off for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Adult education step to future

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Dodd best choice for 4th District Assembly

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Dogs welcome at St. Louis museum about, well, dogs

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Why I don’t breastfeed, if you must know

By The Washington Post | From Page: C2, 2 Comments

Today in History: Oct. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Goshen residents team up to save damaged church

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Vatican mystery: Where did gay welcome originate?

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Mental illnesses are real, treatment is available. Get help today.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Seattle woman uses social media against groper

By The Seattle Times | From Page: C8

 
.

Entertainment

New Mencken book features unpublished material

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6 | Gallery

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
John Green’s first book to be reissued in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

So which Giants Series team is the best?

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Bumgarner gets nod for Giants World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Goff’s late INT sends Cal to 36-34 loss to UCLA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden JV football team downs American Canyon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canada helps Montana hold off UC Davis 42-28

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ben Martin takes Las Vegas PGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bruce Bochy has the postseason touch with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Vickers wins pole in strange Talladega qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Trade for Shields spurred Royals to turnaround

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Can you go solar? Leases, loans make it possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Flavors fuel food industry, but remain a mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Recalls this week: toy toasters, folding tables

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Federal offshore oil lease sale set for March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Stir Kinetic smart desk makes you stand up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Lawrence Weber

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Larry Lee Stanley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Chloe Chicko Kenty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Billy Raye Carter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Alton Lauderdale

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics