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Problems in Education

http://www.sas.com/govedu/edu/k12/evaas/papers.html

Quite a few things there. SAS's EVAAS is generally considered the gold standard of bayesian prediction models as educational interventions; unfortunately as SAS is based in North Carolina it has yet to spread outside that particular state. Some states have similar systems being produced by similar companies.

Particularly, if I were you I would read: http://www.sas.com/success/wf_rolesville.html

Problems in Education

Please look through the comments where I have replied to criticisms; I have tried to find relevant citations.

Problems in Education

I have kids in California public schools.

I have never worked in California, nor New York, and cannot speak for your experience.

Next argument: many of us reading this board, and even being taken in by this post, went through the American public school system ourselves, and by my standards, (I'm 55) many of you went through quite recently. Many of us, I dare say, were in advanced classes. Does the OP fit even vaguely with what you saw with your own eyes? It is miles from my 40 year old experiences.

Really? I myself went through the advanced classes. In my "Calculus AB" class, there were 28 whites, 1 hispanic, and 2 blacks. My school was probably around 30% black, 20% hispanic, 50% white. There are two possibilities. Either whites are 5/3 * 28/2 = 23 times more likely than blacks to be prepared for Calculus, or there is some kind of institutionalized racism going on.

Nobody issues grants to help the academically gifted kids who are already doing well. Most grants come as "dropout prevention grants", or are otherwise targeted at students unlikely to end up on Lesswrong. So I would ask you: in your advanced math classes, were minorities represented as a proportion of the school's population? Or was the ratio of the percentage of minorities in your school's population to the percentage of minorities in your advanced classes higher than 1? Perhaps higher than 2? For me it was 23.

The real question is how long before the trap is sprung and we are told we were naive to believe this at all and we are really no better than birthers and creationists when the story fits our fears. I think it is better than 50% we will get such a message, but we'll see.

Eh. I wish citations were easier to find; it's kind of ridiculous, honestly. Just trying to find math placement criteria for any given school system on the internet is impossible, much less a random assortment of school systems such that my location is anonymous.

Problems in Education

I apologize for the late response.

As for the idea that black students do well if the teachers like them there? Please. Teachers have next to no say as to their assignments---it's one area in which principals have a great deal of control.

I do not know where you come from, but I have personally reviewed the math placement criteria of hundreds of middle schools and high schools. Teacher recommendations are always on the list, whereas I have never seen a school which used "principal recommendations". Wake County, NC's placement criteria: http://www.wcpss.net/policy-files/series/policies/5611-bp.html Alamance County's placement criteria: http://tinyurl.com/d35dtfy I will find more if you'd like me to, but teacher recommendations are plainly listed. In my experience, principals generally back their math teachers when it comes to which students get placed where.

We live in a world where, as I write this, federal settlements are forced on schools that suspend or expel minorities at a higher rate, never mind the details, and anyone believes that schools assign classes by race? It's not just wrong. It's an outright LIE.

The schools do not outright assign math placement based on race; it is slightly more subtle than this. An example would be Wake County, in North Carolina. Wake County used a model called the "effectiveness index". A student is given a score based on: 1) Their previous test scores 2) Their income level (trinary: free lunch, reduced-price lunch, normal) 3) Their race. If two students with exactly equal grades and test scores were evaluated using the effectiveness index, with one student being a poor black, and another being a middle-class white, the former would be given a lower residual score, and therefore would be less likely to be placed into an advanced class. These scores were also used to determine how well a school is doing at teaching. If the poor black student did as well as the white student, the difference between his score and his effectiveness index residual would be larger than the white student's, and so the school would be rewarded for overcoming the "risk factors" of being poor and black and managing to instruct him anyway. Wake county is currently doing away with the effectiveness index, replacing it with EVAAS, a system which takes into account nothing but test scores. Source: http://content.news14.com/pdf/sas_report.pdf

Can you point me to a federal settlement forced on a school that suspends or expels minorities at a higher rate? I ask because in all of the school districts I have worked with, the schools did suspend minorities at a higher rate, and I have yet to see any consequences for this.

Principals are at risk for losing AP classes if they don't put enough URMs in them.

This, as well, I would like to see a citation for.

This post is almost entirely nonsense. I give it "almost" simply because in certain all-URM school districts the corruption level is high. It's within the realm of possibility that "fake grants" to "fake grant programs" that are nothing more than chump change doled out by large employers who can wave the program in front of Jesse Jackson and his ilk--look! We're providing gravy!--so I won't call it an outright lie. But it's certainly not the norm. Did you notice that this guy acts like the education world is comprised solely of blacks and whites? If any element of his story is true, it's because he lives or works in an all black school district that is, indeed, corrupt. Detroit, New Jersey somewhere, or the like. And that's a generous interpretation.

The school districts I have worked with have varied from being 90% black to 3% black. You are right in that I should have said "minority" rather than "black", for hispanics, native americans, and other minorities are at a similar disadvantage. However, I've seen enough districts in enough states that I, at least, believe the traits I ascribed to the education system to be nearly universal.

Problems in Education

The only people aware that the project happened, as far as I know, are myself, my boss, the man in charge, and the 56 students (who were in 6-8th grade at the time, and all from poor black families). The issuer of the grant was the local government, and they issue so many grants that I seriously doubt there's anyone looking at all of them.

Problems in Education

You might have seen some of those sketchy advertisements, similar to the "Google will Pay YOU!!! To Work From Home!" ads, which say stuff like "Get Grant Money Here!". At least, I associate those two kinds of ads as being similar.

In any case, the process of finding grants to apply for is very simple. The Department of Education grants are all on http://www.grants.gov/. Pretty much every university's Research and Evaluation Department gives out grants to the local community; check out your local Uni's website. Sometimes large corporations give out grants, sometimes individual people. In general, get in touch with the education department of your county government to find out which grants are being offered nearby and how to apply for them.

Now that I think of it, this is the main request I should have of lesswrongers. I bet anyone on this website could write a damn good proposal for any grant they come across, and I bet their project would be better than the shit I evaluate.

Problems in Education

That's interesting.

If this were a hoax, it would certainly appeal to right-wingers. In general, the way the school board is debating this issue, the democrats are in favor of teacher recommendations and "helping the poor black kids", whereas the republicans (although, on the school board, they're all teapartiers) are the ones running with the "Data Driven Decisions D^3" slogan.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Hey Lesswrong.

This is a sockpuppet account I made for the purpose of making a post to Discussion and possibly Main, while obscuring my identity, which is important due to some NDAs I've signed with regards to the content of the post.

I am explicitly asking for +2 karma so that I can make the post.