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Rich, black, and flunking.. June 16, 2007

Posted by The Armchair Economist in Culture, Education, Society.

It’s not news that black kids under perform their white counterparts in American schools. Reasons given always include things like racism, less resources available etc. Here’s an interesting look at a highly controversial study that looked at the problems facing the highly regarded Shaker Heights school district. Although the median income for the black population was significantly above the national mean (most were highly educated, well to do doctors, lawyers, etc who came here specifically to enroll their kids in the schools) their children still vastly underperformed their white peers (ie: gpa 1.9 vs. 3.45). While he claims that there are multiple factors at work, his conclusion was that the children adopted a peer culture where effort and performance was equated as ‘selling out’ and ‘being white’, in addition to general parental disengagement in their children’s studies. He also has some interesting opinions as to the reasons for differences in performance by people who were ‘forced immigrants’ (ie: native americans, american blacks) vs. ‘voluntary immigrants’ (asians, immigrant blacks). As many of his critics put it, he isn’t the first sociologist to ‘blame the victims’, but it is interesting that he does have some (sparse) support among the black parents from Shaker Heights.

read more | digg story



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