Race, IQ, and Education

The Washington Post article below represents current majority thinking about education today.  But this website's creator Van Sloan believes that such thinking has created unreasonable expectations - expectations that in themselves have contributed to many public school failures.

The article's title phrase "Equality Still Elusive" is one example.  It projects an assumption that if educational conditions were truly equal in our schools, all ethnic groups would perform about equally.  We seem to have little difficulty accepting that in running speeds Blacks typically perform better than other ethnic groups.  The 2004 Olympics provided a powerful case in point.  Is it really unreasonable to expect that in other human abilities (such as IQ) there are also noticeable differences among ethnic groups?

The expectation that all groups should perform about equally in the classroom sets up a culture of failure.   The Washington Post article below notes that minority students are often assigned to the newest and least experienced teachers.  But even when experienced teachers enjoy working with minorities, they have powerful incentives not to do so.  First there typically are more discipline and home environment problems with inner city youth.  On top of that, communities think that equality in output is possible.  So inner city teachers are considered untalented because their students do not perform like students in suburban schools.  Suppose instead that the results of inner city classrooms were compared only with classes of similar IQ and demographic students?  Then inner city teachers would have a level playing field, and they could demonstrate their relative instructional abilities.

Professionals now generally agree that research data shows that average African-American IQ is 85 (at the 16th percentile of all Americans) while the average white American has an IQ of 101 (or the 53rd percentile).  The gap is much too wide to expect that their classroom performances would be similar.  Researchers also agree that IQ is set for life by age five or earlier.  It is true that IQ tests require reading and other skills learned in the classroom.   But they mainly test for problem-solving abilities, not facts learned at school.  Most respected IQ-type tests (like the SAT-1) have been well researched for flaws and their scores have been shown to correlate well with each other.  The cause of different group IQ's is not with flawed tests.

The public's attention on varying academic performances among schools may be overlooking other important matters.  Research on what leads to financial success shows that IQ accounts for less than one-third of the total.  The other two-thirds of success come from social skills and ambition type skills.   Unlike IQ, there does not appear to be significant racial differences in these other success skills.   Schools could benefit their students in many ways with a more rounded attention to ALL the skills that lead to success.

At the high IQ/ achievement level, American educators similarly look to explain performance on factors other than basic intelligence. Asian students are regularly top scorers on math tests; Americans score much lower than one might expect. As with low Black IQ's, the high Asian IQ is usually overlooked by educators in explaining results in American schools.


50 Years After Desegregation Ruling, Equality Still Elusive (excerpts from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40151-2004May19.html) By Karin Chenoweth  of the Washington Post
Thursday, May 20, 2004; Page GZ06

Anyone who cares about schools and education and the state of democracy in the United States has been thinking about Brown v. Board of Education lately.   The question facing us on the 50th anniversary of Brown is whether No Child Left Behind can, in fact, finish the work that Brown started 50 years ago -- making sure each child in America has the opportunity to meet high academic standards.

But the fact is that African Americans, Latinos and American Indians are still, for the most part, separated into unequal schools. When they are in the same schools, they often are separated into very unequal classrooms.

The success of IQ measurements in sorting soldiers into various jobs and training routes during World War I bolstered the claims of the testing psychologists. That success, coupled with the huge waves of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia in the first quarter-century -- immigrants thought by many in the elite to be dull and uneducable -- made for a powerful argument to use first secondary and then elementary schools not as institutions to transmit learning to a new generation, but as vast sorting devices to divide children into winners and losers.

Although not all black and immigrant students were shunted into low-level curriculums, and not all American-born white students were shunted into high-level curriculums, those were the overall patterns laid down around World War I that continue today, long after those old notions of fixed intelligence that can be easily measured by a pencil-and-paper test have been completely dispelled.

Gifted Programs.  And that is the post-Brown problem faced particularly, but not only, by poor students and students of color. Too often they are not seen as the "gifted" children most deserving of extensive education, and they are too often shunted into low-level curriculums that do not even pretend to prepare students for college and are taught by inadequate or unprepared teachers.

Even Montgomery County (MD), which can congratulate itself on the fact that it has some of the most integrated school buildings in the country, has much unfinished business. Black and Latino students are assigned to the newest and least experienced teachers more often than white students; and they too often are closed out of a rigorous and demanding curriculum.

One way to consider this question is to look at the data on the special programs that Montgomery County reserves for those students it has deemed "gifted."  Of the 2,009 slots in those programs, a mere 101 are filled by African American students and 47 by Hispanic students. Now that African American and Latino students together make up about 40 percent of the student population in Montgomery County, the fact that only 7 percent of the students in these special programs are black and Latino becomes shameful.

Go to: Basic facts about IQ

Go to: Bright Asian students cause dumber White students to flee schools

Go to: IQ has less importance that social skills in one's success

Go to: Race makes no difference in social skills, unlike IQ

If readers have difficulty accepting ideas on this page, see www.faithnscience.com/tips.html. It deals with the occasional, uncomfortable realities of what science finds: "We must be prepared to accept what our mind finds revolting and discard our most sacred beliefs according to the evidence." This link continues with well accepted methods to discern between what is true and what which we just wish were true.

Comments to: VanSloan@yahoo.com


Web SQ.4mg.com (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)