Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Reader Asks of Harvard Economics Professor and 2011 MacArthur Fellow, Roland G. Fryer Jr., “How is This Token a MacArthur ‘Genius’?” Answer: Because He’s a Token


MacArthur Foundation propaganda video.

In the above video, Fryer says that he wants all children to have equal educational access. I look forward to his putting that belief to work by fighting against the pervasive discrimination that causes more money to be spent on the education of black and Hispanic children than on white and Asian kids, and forces working-class white and Asian parents to choose between living in poverty, or on the edge of it, and seeing their children beaten to a pulp, sexually molested, and turned into basket cases by racist black and Hispanic “classmates” in a public school. [See the chapter on education in The State of White America-2007.] I look forward, as well, to seeing him fight against the racism that has unqualified black and Hispanic kids and young adults admitted to gifted programs and schools, and selective and highly selective universities, in the place of qualified whites and Asians, and for money to be earmarked for education for the truly gifted, who now get nothing.

Actually, a little shifting about shows Roland G. Fryer Jr. (he’s usually cited simply as “Roland Fryer”) to be a seller of educational snake oil, calling the limited charter school experiment of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), run by fellow snake oil salesman, Geoffrey Canada, the "equivalent of curing cancer for these kids." The underwhelming trick of HCZ is to take the creme de la creme of black kids, put them in a rarefied educational atmosphere, record their test scores, and pronounce the black-white achievement gap “closed.”

They have solved nothing, because they have not raised the test scores of average and low-achieving blacks. (Well, actually, a number of black school districts managed to spread the results out to much larger black populations... through massive test fraud!)

Keep in mind that, while people in the charter movement talk about “Get[ting] [black] kids to be comparably well educated as their white, wealthy peers,” poor white kids consistently score as high as wealthy black kids.

Part of the charter school “solution” to the black-white test gap is to force kids to spend 50-100 percent more time in school per day than typical public school pupils. As a parent, I lived through a brief experiment in which my then kindergartener was forced to spend 38 minutes more in school, Monday through Thursday. Since my son already applied himself and concentrated, such that at the end of a normal school day, he had left everything in the classroom, he had nothing left to give. He was exhausted and miserable at the end of the extended school day, and was going from loving school to hating it. (And that was only 10 percent more.) When his teacher told me that he had tested at a full year above grade level, I told the school I was pulling him from the after-school program. When school officials tried to sandbag me, I wrote them that my son was done with the program, effective immediately, and that they’d better not fool around with me. (On the street, I have bluffed many a thug, but where my kid is concerned, I don’t bluff.)

(It turned out that the reason my son loved school, was that he had a once-in-a-lifetime teacher, but not even his love for her could compensate for the misery of attending a longer school day. And he had nothing against the after-school teacher. It turned out that the after-school program was a financial scam that had nothing to do with cognitive improvement. The Boss figured it out. New York City School Commissar Joel Klein, who now pushes the charter school snake oil of HCZ, etc., and the United Federation of Teachers union had agreed to a new contract, in which teachers would get raises, in exchange for working 150 additional minutes per week, as in about 38 minutes per day, Monday through Thursday.)

A number of years ago, someone remarked that to the apparatchiks running the MacArthur Foundation, there is a genius to socialism. Thus, multimillionaire, socialist TV producer David Simon was given a grant.

It may therefore seem peculiar that MacArthur would give a “genius” grant to someone pushing charter schools, and 20 years ago, I doubt that they would have done so, but Fryer is black, he claims he can erase the test gap (i.e., he refuses to acknowledge racial differences in intelligence), and many black Democrats have jumped on the charter school bandwagon, after seeing in charters incredible graft potential.

In addition to rewarding people for being socialists, as the second propaganda film at the bottom of this item shows, the MacArthur commissars give out their “genius” grants according to affirmative action racial/ethnic/sexual criteria.

Footnoted MacArthur Foundation propaganda blurb:

Roland Fryer is an economist illuminating the causes and consequences of economic disparity due to race and inequality in American society. [So does that mean that he studies the effects of I.Q. on different populations’ educational and life chances? Not exactly. And how can one “illuminate the causes and consequences of economic disparity due to … inequality”? “Disparity” and “inequality” are synonyms, making the statement circular.] Through innovative empirical and theoretical investigations, Fryer has opened up a range of topics to quantitative analysis, offering new insights on such issues as the cognitive underpinnings [no, that’s not what it sounds like!] of racial discrimination, labor market inequalities, and, in particular, the educational trajectory of minority children. In an examination of the longitudinal trends of testing gaps among elementary schoolchildren, Fryer and a collaborator determined that, after controlling for background characteristics, black and white children enter kindergarten at parity, but their achievement gap widens through higher grade levels; in addition, they found that traditional socioeconomic metrics could not account for this gap [but I.Q. explains things, just fine!]. In other work, Fryer posited that social network structure could be a contributing factor. Having constructed an index of social status based on a large, national set of demographic data, his analysis suggests that peer-group loyalty sometimes competes with academic performance, particularly in ethnically heterogeneous environments. [Translated into English: Black kids who can do academic work are pressured to fail by vicious, anti-intellectual black classmates and “educators” who accuse them of “acting white,” and even beat them for excelling.] Recently, Fryer led a randomized experiment with well over 20,000 students from more than 200 schools in three cities, testing several models of financial incentives to see if they improve children's academic performance. Results collected to date indicate that incentives payments alone have no statistically significant impact on subsequent state test scores. [Duh!] These studies, among many others, demonstrate Fryer's propensity to tackle difficult, often sensitive, social questions with scientific rigor. [This is a joke, right? If I were Fryer, I’d be mighty embarrassed by such patronizing flattery.] His research is informing the work of academics and policy makers alike, and he is playing a singular and influential role in ongoing discussions about the effects of racial differences in America.
Roland Fryer received a B.A. (1998) from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. (2002) from Pennsylvania State University. He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (2003-2006) prior to his appointment in the Department of Economics, where he is currently Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics. He is also founder and director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Sheila said...

The MacArthur foundation generally gives "genius" grants to leftists. Obviously, MacArthur's son had tremendous animus towards his father, and has used the monies left by him to further every cause his progenitor would have despised. I may be mistaken, but I believe MacArthur "fil" is gay.

Sheila said...

Okay, note to self - Google before you comment. Sorry about confusing the genius grants with General MacArthur. Disregard previous comment.

rjp said...

.... Fryer and a collaborator determined that, after controlling for background characteristics, black and white children enter kindergarten at parity, but their achievement gap widens through higher grade levels; ....

This sentence alone should have alerted everyone that this he and his report were a complete fraud.