Thursday, June 17, 2010

Achievement Doubling Income of the Poor Has No Effect on Achievement

Tags: Achievement Epigenetic Success Factors Culture Affluence Education Schools

David Brooks writes for the elites of our country to convince them only their efforts alone was the major factor contributing to their success. OK, sometimes he does exaggerate, but generally he puts out convincing arguments for his very conservative agenda which he continued after leaving the Wall Street Journal.

Many more recent young Asians had well educated and formerly affluent parents so they did well because their genes were modified epigenetically to fit the culture they came from for survival reasons. We can see in South Boston, in Appalachia, and many parts of the South, the Scots-Irish mentality of aggressiveness, paranoia, religiousity, and preference to live only with people who share their views.

Their tribal behavior survival mode was cultivated through continuous Wars and deprivation while living in Southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are large numbers in the USA because they started emigrating as early as the eighteenth century in large numbers due to forcible British transplant and did not practice contraception widely. They are essentially The Republican Party now in the South, midwest, and the mountain states with a good dose in California. The Mormons in Utah are Scots-Irish. Those in Appalachia have not changed much since the 1700s. They make up a large part of the Caucasian arm forces now.

Yes, it is futile to get votes from the radical Republicans so Obama should stop trying and use every possible parliamentary procedure to get the votes through. Just compromise with the moderate Republicans.

The mistake Brooks make is that assuming that opportunity and money does not help is based on a very short history of trying to change the attitude of people. In Mexico, they pay the mother money (not the father) to get children to attend school and it is working!

Another thing that does not work is putting the individual over the group in schools. Do what is necessary to get a stable school environment. It seems that whenever order is imposed by a principal, some parent sues and gets them fired. Without order and safety, all bets are off. We have already seen in Washington, DC where a massive layoff of ineffective Principals and teachers has improved achievement in math and reading on both students and teachers in a very short time. A group of seniors all got into college where essentially none made it their just a few years ago.

Yes, it does take more money, but teaching in poor areas is bad so paying teachers at least double the usual salary is worth a lot more to society than just this extra cost demerit.

Jim Kawakami, June 17, 2010,

Doubling Income of the Poor Has No Effect on Achievement

NY Times, May 3, 2010, David Brooks

Letter to Editor: Professor Jai Prakash Sharma, Jaipur, India, May 4th, 2010

Since public policy in a democratic system is expected to reflect broad social consensus on vital issues of governance and development; and several social-psychological inputs, involving ethno-cultural beliefs, collective group aspirations, economic betterment demands and personal-social security perceptions of people go into making such a policy, it would be wrong to assume that public policy and political actions have just marginal impact on people's lives or their aspirations.

Again, ethnicity, sect, class or some other social grouping could never be viewed as fixed or frozen identities, for not only do they constitute an interactive relationship with the broad social universe, but also exhibit strong change impulse while negotiating their way to modernity. Thus, asking for minimal policy intervention in public arena, and leaving different ethno-social groups intact with their cocooned social space would be a status-quoist view of social existence, going against the very notion of change, modernity and progress.


Achievement: Doubling Income of the Poor Has No Effect on Achievement : Life Outcome Historical Experiences, Cultural Attitudes, Child-Rearing Practices, Family Formation Patterns, Expectations About the Future, Work Ethics and Quality of Social Bonds When you try to account for life outcome differences this gigantic, you find yourself beyond narrow economic incentives and in the murky world of social capital. What matters are historical experiences, cultural attitudes, child-rearing practices, family formation patterns, expectations about the future, work ethics and the quality of social bonds.

Researchers have tried to disaggregate the influence of these soft factors and have found it nearly impossible. All we can say for sure is that different psychological, cultural and social factors combine in myriad ways to produce different viewpoints. As a result of these different viewpoints, the average behavior is different between different ethnic and geographic groups, leading to different life outcomes.

It is very hard for policy makers to use money to directly alter these viewpoints. In her book, “What Money Can’t Buy,” Susan E. Mayer of the University of Chicago calculated what would happen if you could double the income of the poorest Americans. The results would be disappointingly small. Doubling parental income would barely reduce dropout rates of the children. It would have a small effect on reducing teen pregnancy. It would barely improve child outcomes overall. …

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