SL 755

Education links: My education graph of the day is the percent of 9th graders in particular states that graduate high school in four years, go immediately to college, and then graduate from that college within six years. The WSJ reports that the College Board is compiling an “adversary score” that will accompany SAT scores, so kids will get two numbers – one will be their regular SAT score and another one that will measure how disadvantaged they are.

There’s a whole genre of literature aimed at rebutting the conclusions of Hillbilly Elegy.

Maybe when we’re in Scotland this summer, we should check out Prince Charles’s new bed and breakfast.

The new TWA hotel at JFK looks amazing!

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22 thoughts on “SL 755

  1. Wow, this is fascinating. I had no idea the high school graduation rate was so low – 73.5 percent of those who start 9th grade, with some states in the low 60s. I also felt like my university’s 6-year completion rate was really bad – it was in the 70s, then dropped to the 60s, and I’m afraid is now in the 50s. But if 45.9 percent of graduates attempt college and 20.8 complete in 150% of completion time, we might even be better than average. Of course that’s still terrible. (Not sure how CCs fit in; I’ll have to look at this more closely later. And I know many of our students drop out for financial reasons, which are exacerbated by the state’s reduction in support for the university system.)

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      1. Isn’t that only high school? Laura’s link covers percentage of 9th graders that graduate college within 6 years, so of course it is lower than the high school rate.

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  2. I’ve read a number of other perspectives on the people of “Hillbilly elegy” (including, I think, by someone related to Vance, or who grew up adjacent to the same people). I think books that are as successful as that one has been end up spawning both righteous and flawed backlash.

    Vance appears to be, ideologically, an anti-government conservative (in spite of his path being paved by the military, GI bill, and Ohio State, a public university). Hence, potentially, the statement ““People sometimes ask whether I think there’s anything we can do to ‘solve’ the problems of my community. I know what they’re looking for: a magical public policy solution or an innovative government program. ”

    But, he does seem to be working on a potentially personally lucrative initiative to address the economic hollowing out of middle america, the “Rise of the Rest”, Steve Case’s (AOL) initiative to invest in the smaller American big cities (https://www.businessinsider.com/rise-of-the-rest-steve-case-jd-vance-2018-1). A year old, the article, and I don’t know if they have any successes to point towards, though I think some folks are pointing to Nashville as a mini success story.

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  3. “Not sure how CCs fit in; I’ll have to look at this more closely later.”

    CCs would be hard to analyze, because they have so many non-full time and non-traditional students.

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  4. That Rachel Bryan piece seems like wholly conventional leftist academic rhetoric, reflecting the same stale thinking that the academic left brings to bear on almost every issue (scapegoating, national guilt, multiple truths, diverse voices, etc.). You could change a handful of words and it would be about the inner cities, or, with another handful of changes it could be about classical studies (see eidolon.pub). It’s amazing how the same prescription fits every problems.

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  5. I’m in the middle of Hillbilly Elegy (I do my Kindle reading during trips so I’ll probably finish it this summer) and my suggestion would be to primarily use the book for anthropological purposes, with any necessary corrections from other sources, and with the understanding that J.D. Vance is a somewhat different critter than the people he is describing.

    I’ve enjoyed the book and I also enjoyed The Glass Castle, which I relate very strongly to. Kevin Williamson has also written some stuff about his childhood that makes me wish that he, too, would write a book.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/10/white-working-class-populism-underclass-anti-elitism-acting-white-incompatible-conservativism/

    That whole article is very good. This is from the part that makes me wish he would write a book: “Our mortgage then was $285 a month, which was a little less than my father paid in child support, so housing was, in effect, paid for. And thus I found myself in the strange position of being temporarily without a home while rotating between neighbors within sight, about 60 feet away, of the paid-up house to which I could not safely return. I was in kindergarten at the time.”

    (Divorced mom was living with a dangerous alcoholic.)

    People with that kind of background often have interesting perspectives. On the other hand, with regard to policy prescriptions, J.D. Vance is on more or less the same footing as any of us.

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    1. You can’t expect “the whole story” from a single person’s perspective, especially when much of the story is told from a child’s point of view, and with a child’s level of information.

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    2. You run into the problem that a person who successfully comes out of a deeply dysfunctional family situation is going to be somewhat unusual, so their ideas about what might be helpful to people from their background is not going to be generally useful.

      You run into something similar with regard to women and mothers. Women and mothers who have time to write well and at great length about being women and mothers are (surprise!) going to be (on average) atypical women and mothers, so you can’t read them and gain insight into the typical woman.

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    3. You should read Educated.

      There seems to be a subgenre of memoir that is “my parents and community were seriously messed up when I was a child, but I escaped.” See also: Running With Scissors.

      My childhood was obviously way too boring to be a memoir. “And then my dad got obsessed with MTV and videotaped hours of videos, listing them all down in a composition notebook that we still have today even though the actual VHS tapes were thrown out long ago!”

      Btw, I had my last final this morning, and I’m avoiding grading, which is why y’all are seeing more of me.

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  6. Wendy said, “There seems to be a subgenre of memoir that is “my parents and community were seriously messed up when I was a child, but I escaped.””

    Yeah.

    “My childhood was obviously way too boring to be a memoir. “And then my dad got obsessed with MTV and videotaped hours of videos, listing them all down in a composition notebook that we still have today even though the actual VHS tapes were thrown out long ago!””

    It’s still funny!

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  7. I don’t understand the adversity score. We’re perpetually being told that all family structures are equally good, and in fact two parent heterosexual families are really bad in many ways. My daughter took a whole sociology class with that message–what we used to call a “gut” although I believe the lingo has changed: in any case, a class where you regurgitate the professor’s infantile political views and get an A without doing any work. Now we are supposed to believe that being raised in a single parent family amounts to “adversity”? I guess we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

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  8. I wonder how fine-grained this is. We live in a nice small neighborhood (about 30 single family homes) in a larger community with a lot of student apartments and poor folk and some low-scoring public schools.

    If the system is crude enough, we’d be rated as facing high adversity.

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    1. I wonder if it’s a reuse of the data the College Board has been marketing to colleges as the “Segment Analysis Service?” https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/mSSS/media/pdf/segment-analysis-service-overview.pdf

      “An Educationally Relevant Geodemographic Tagging Service”

      The primary appeal of geodemography from the marketer’s perspective is that, with just an address, s/he can begin to craft an image about a particular set of individuals based on the values, tastes, expectations, and behaviors associated with their geographic community. This is done by mapping small bounded geographical regions, typically at a nine-digit zip-code level, against data from credit card agencies, U.S. Census data, and other consumer databases that track consumer characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors. The result is a series of geodemographic “clusters” that represent types of individuals based on a unique set of characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors.

      Would you want to gamble that the picture of your child’s environment matches the marketers’?

      Welcome to the world of Big Data: Marketing Edition.

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  9. This is unfortunate:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027718302609

    “We find that participants falsely concluded that politically like-minded others were better at categorizing shapes and thus chose to hear from them. Participants were also more influenced by politically like-minded others, even when they had good reason not to be. These results replicate in two independent samples. The findings demonstrate that knowing about others’ political views interferes with the ability to learn about their competency in unrelated tasks, leading to suboptimal information-seeking decisions and errors in judgement.”

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    1. Why is that startling? Who but a very rich person would pay a quarter million to send their child to a second-tier private SLAC best-known for left wing violence?

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    2. y81 said,

      “Why is that startling? Who but a very rich person would pay a quarter million to send their child to a second-tier private SLAC best-known for left wing violence?”

      I was assuming that there would be more $100k-ish families or that there would be enough scholarships being awarded on that the median would be lower.

      Plus, it’s Middlebury–I can’t imagine spending that much for a moderately well-known SLAC.

      (The intensive summer language program is an older claim to fame.)

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  10. Caitlin Flanagan has a really cringe-y summary of Naomi Wolf’s career

    https://mobile.twitter.com/CaitlinPacific/status/1132005856495702021

    brought to you by this mishap:

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/naomi-wolfs-book-corrected-by-host-in-bbc-interview.html

    “In the pantheon of nightmares, somewhere between “falling into an endless pit” and “back at high school but naked” is “going on national radio and learning, on-air, that the book you wrote and is to be published in two weeks is premised on a misunderstanding.” Naomi Wolf, unfortunately, is living that nightmare.”

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