David Thompson
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April 30, 2008

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KMcC

Steyn wrote 'burthen' not 'burden'

John D

"Mark Steyn runs his tongue over Michelle Obama."

That is SO wrong. :D

The Thin Man

"In 2004, a groundbreaking study of affirmative action in law schools blew away every rationale for racial double standards ever put forth. UCLA law professor Richard Sander found that law schools that admit black students with lower GPAs and Law School Admissions Test scores than their nonblack peers—almost all law schools, in other words—actually lowered those students’ chances of passing the bar. Because of the “mismatch” between their academic preparedness and the academic sophistication of the school that has bootstrapped them in, the preference beneficiaries learn less of what they need to pass the bar than they would in a school that matched their capabilities. Far from increasing the supply of black lawyers, affirmative action actually decreases the diversity of the bar.

The data that Sander offered about black performance in law school were stunning. After the first year, 51 percent of black students are in the bottom tenth of their class, compared with 5 percent of white students. Two-thirds of black students are in the bottom fifth of their class. Blacks are twice as likely to drop out as whites, and only 45 percent of black law school graduates pass the bar on their first try, compared with 80 percent of white grads. Blacks are six times as likely to fail the bar after multiple efforts.

Law school is the perfect place to evaluate whether aptitude tests such as the LSAT and SAT do or do not predict academic success. College gives no objective exit exam that measures what students actually learned, and grades are imperfect measures, since courses vastly differ in difficulty, and grade inflation is rampant. Law school grades, however, often calculated blind and on a curve, provide a more reliable gauge, and the bar remains the humanities’ and social sciences’ most objective exit exam.

The correlation between black law students’ rock-bottom LSATs and their performance in law school and on the bar exam is overwhelming. Sander’s study demolishes the two mainstays of the preferences regime: the arguments that objective aptitude tests do not anticipate minorities’ academic performance; and that admitting affirmative-action beneficiaries to schools where their academic skills are below the norm is in their interest.

Clearly, Sander’s work was a mortal threat and had to be treated as such. The article was “a piece of crap that never should have been published and has no merit of any sort,” Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber huffed. Boalt law prof Gordon Liu misrepresented the article’s message, charging Sander with telling blacks that they “should lower their sights” and “not aim high” in choosing a law school—as if only with the crutch of affirmative action can blacks aspire to the top tier."

From a good piece on Proposition 209 -
http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_1_prop209.html

TDK

I've been trying to find confirmation for this article referring to a letter in Science News. It seems to ridiculous to be anything other than a spoof.

"In the April 12, 2008, issue a letter appears that puzzled me quite a bit,
both for its content and because it was published. Here is what it said:
“I feel that Rachel Ehrenberg was entirely too glib in ‘Digging that Maya
blue” (SN:3/1/08, p. 134). The description of an ancient Mayan religious
ritual as ‘plucking the hearts from humans and tossing the bodies into the
sacred cenote’ is disrespectful. I am sure that Science News would never
describe any contemporary religious ritual in this manner. Here is hoping
that the editors and writers adopt a more dispassionate eye.”"

http://tibikem.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!B2FD693F4B9A5746!186.entry#post

You mustn't be disrespectful of other cultures even when it involves human sacrifice.

David

From the Heather MacDonald article linked above:

“Yet for the [racial] preference lobby, a failing diversity student is better than no diversity student — because the game is not about the students but about the self-image of the institution that so beneficently extends its largesse to them.”

I doubt the situation of the failing, debt-laden recipients of that largesse will have been helped too much by educators and administrators who think like Dr Caprice Hollins, who uses the public dime to dismiss long-term planning and the speaking of grammatical English as “white values”. She’s only a notch and a half away from the noxious ravings of Jeremiah Wright, who thinks black students aren’t suited to analytical thinking because of their allegedly innate “learning styles” which favour “creative and intuitive” subjects and classroom fidgeting. And all in the name of racial “authenticity”.

Candice

"I doubt the situation of the failing, debt-laden recipients of that largesse will have been helped too much by educators and administrators who think like Dr Caprice Hollins, who uses the public dime to dismiss long-term planning and the speaking of grammatical English as “white values”.

If I may elaborate on your comment, David:

The importance of learning language skills both oral and written lies in the ability to think, reason, and understand. Our cognitions are limited by our internal vocabulary, just as they are by our experiences. One would experience difficulty in imagining a cell phone if one has never seen a telephone. One also cannot reason or argue logically without extensive language skills. This explains why I can observe in my introductory logic class a widespread inability to articulate arguments without resorting to fallacy.

If one refuses to teach the young how to think (not *what* to think - this comes naturally) then one will be rewarded with adults who are incapable of thought. I could illustrate liberally, but I respect your ability to think too highly to do so. To actually argue that some humans are incapable of learning to think is about the most offensive thing I can imagine.

EBD

"Our cognitions are limited by our internal vocabulary..."

Ahh, that explains why my lawyer "Victoria" did such a poor job representing me in court. She refused to respond to the opposing counsel's arguments, and accused him and the judge of talking down to her; her closing argument consisted of her repeatedly uttering the phrase "Don't go there, girlfriend" while bobbing her head from side to side like an owl, in front of a wagging long-nailed finger.

As a direct consequence of her courtroom display she is now in debt for student loans that she won't ever be able to pay off, and I've been forced to declare bankruptcy. Next time, obviously, I'll make sure she has a first-rate internal vocabulary first, *then* I'll help her fill out the forms for the student loan.

After she graduates, obviously, we'll appeal the case.

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