The New No Excuses: Where Not to be Reincarnated a Rich White Kid

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

So the plot thickens, as many JPGB readers (including this author) was born as an American White kid who was not eligible for a Free or Reduced Lunch. In the Great Reincarnation to Come, maybe that is always how it works out!

Or maybe not.

In any case, you ought not to feel overly reassured. Assuming again that you want to learn to read, the above chart shows achievement levels from the 2011 NAEP for non-FRL eligible White students.

Before proceeding to dwell on West Virginia and others, I should note that DC has finally come in first place in something! If you are an ultra-wealthy White student going to one of the highly exclusive public schools in Georgetown, your reading ability rocks. Congratulations to the portion of the DC school into which few poor kids ever step foot much less attend.

Something has been going wrong in West Virginia, as their NAEP scores have been declining. Alaska is a different sort of place that obviously needs to get their act together on K-12. Tennessee can’t be happy to see themselves near the top of this list, and Nevada needs to let go of the idea that you don’t need to be well-educated to deal blackjack.

And then, there’s Oregon. Someone please explain to me why 21% of middle and upper income Anglos in Oregon should be illiterate.



7 Responses to The New No Excuses: Where Not to be Reincarnated a Rich White Kid

  1. mainemom2three says:

    Can you please post this table for upper income white 4th & 8th grade math NAEP results? Thank you!!

  2. Tim says:

    One of my reactions to reading Stuart Buck’s “Acting White” was that he or someone else should also write a book about white students that could be called “Acting Smart.” Homogeneously white schools can have cultures that ridicule and penalize academic achievement just as much as a homogeneously black schools do. I suspect it’s even more pronounced in areas that have struggled with the transition to a ‘mind’ economy.

    (I don’t know what potential effect this might have on NAEP scores. Just throwing it out there.)

  3. Efavorite says:

    There is nothing particularly “exclusive” about the schools in DC that have mainly white kids in them. They are populated by DCPS teachers and principals and at least some of the kids in them are “out-of-boundary” — that is from neighborhoods, often majority black, that are far from the schools. Their parents want to send their kids to the most high-achieving schools and have the means to get them there — after winning the lottery. As long as a lot of people who live in the desirable neighborhoods send their kids to private schools, there is extra room in those schools – often in ward 3, which includes Chevy Chase and other high-real estate areas. (Georgetown is in ward 2).

    FYI, Wilson high school, in Ward 3, has about 20% white kids – the in-boundary kids whose parents don’t choose private schools. They do quite well – getting into all the best colleges, just like their private school peers.

  4. matthewladner says:

    What % of White kids at Wilson are FRL eligible?

    • Efavorite says:

      probably none of the Wilson white kids are F/RL — they are the kids of the Ward 3 parents living in the same high-priced real estate as the private school kids. Their parents are professionals or high-level government workers, many of whom can afford private school, but prefer to send their kids to public — or the kids prefer it. In some families, one kid goes to private and another to public.

  5. […] The New No Excuses Jay Greene Blog: Someone please explain to me why 21% of middle and upper income Anglos in Oregon should be illiterate. […]

  6. Niki Hayes says:

    As to your question about Oregon: That state reflects the philosophy of Seattle Schools, from which I retired in 2006 as a math teacher/principal. One-third of our city’s students went to private schools at the time because of the public schools’ curricula and teaching standards that said “discovery” learning for “self-awareness” through “creative thinking” was more important than learning academics through hard work with continuing practice in traditional lessons. (That is, you really should know your multiplication table by the end of 3rd grade and you could not use a calculator until the 7th grade.)

    My school followed the “traditional path” with Saxon Math and phonics instruction because the district office, under Supt. Joseph Olchefske, had said our “site-based decision-making” authority allowed us to choose the curricula and program we wanted at our schools. My school was 80% upper middle class and we saw great results on tests, even the fuzzy-created ones. (And, I had used the same curricula on the Spokane Indian Reservation and saw equally good results.)

    For more background, the 1996 president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Jack Price, said on a radio show that only white boys and Asians learn from using those old traditional, linear methods. The goal of public schools was to focus on ensuring egalitarianism for girls and minorities (except for Asians), and everyone “knew” those students learned better with lots of verbal and group discussions and lots of persuasive (emotionally-driven) writing, contrasted to descriptive writing (based on facts).

    We began losing our boys by the droves with that focus on the feel-good, fuzzy thinking, inventive spelling and non-answer answers. We began losing many kids to private schools (and now charter schools), which leaves all those other kids of all colors and backgrounds at the mercy of lousy curricula and leadership.

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