October 23, 2011

AP Report on Dearth of Black Degrees in Math, Tech and Science Missing Key Five-Word Cause

At the Associated Press today, National Writer Jesse Washington attempted to dissect the relative dearth of college degrees earned by African-Americans in “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Not that anything he reported was particularly wrong, but in my view he missed the largest contributor to the problem, one that apparently can’t be mentioned in polite press company. He used one word — “uneducated” — that started to get close but backed away. The five-word phrase he failed to mention, which could usefully carry the acronym “LUPUS”:

Lousy, Unionized Public Urban Schools.

Here are the first six paragraphs from Washington’s report:

Declining numbers of blacks seen in math, science

With black unemployment reaching historic levels, banks laying off tens of thousands and law school graduates waiting tables, why aren’t more African-Americans looking toward science, technology, engineering and math – the still-hiring careers known as STEM?

The answer turns out to be a complex equation of self-doubt, stereotypes, discouragement and economics – and sometimes just wrong perceptions of what math and science are all about.

The percentage of African-Americans earning STEM degrees has fallen during the last decade. It may seem far-fetched for an undereducated black population to aspire to become chemists or computer scientists, but the door is wide open, colleges say, and the shortfall has created opportunities for those who choose this path.

STEM barriers are not unique to black people. The United States does not produce as high a proportion of white engineers, scientists and mathematicians as it used to. Women and Latinos also lag behind white men.

Yet the situation is most acute for African-Americans.

Black people are 12 percent of the U.S. population and 11 percent of all students beyond high school. In 2009, they received just 7 percent of all STEM bachelor’s degrees, 4 percent of master’s degrees, and 2 percent of PhDs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This is all well and good, but to get from Washington’s “11% of all students beyond high school” to the 7% of all students with STEM degrees, there’s an intermediate step: Blacks only account for 9.8% of all bachelors degrees in the 2008-2009 academic year. This means that either a lot more of the “students beyond high school” are enrolling in junior colleges or that the dropout rate among blacks who go to four-year schools is disproportionately high — or both.

Far more critically, Washington ignored how horridly prepared so many graduates of urban high schools for science- and math-related pursuits. Though I’m obviously citing the worst of the worst, there are many urban school districts, many if not most with predominantly black student populations, which are almost as bad (link is to BlogProf because the underlying February 24 Detroit News item is no longer available):

Students tested from Detroit Public Schools have scored the worst in the nation again — this time in science, according to national test scores released today.

The district’s fourth- and eighth-graders trailed 16 other large cities that participated in the National Assessment of Educational Progress Trial Urban District Assessment, given to students between January and March 2009.

The test found that 80 percent of eighth-graders scored below the “basic” level, meaning they lack fundamental skills in science, while 17 percent scored at the basic level. Only 3 percent were considered proficient and none scored advanced.

With results like that, there isn’t a talent pool from which to draw.

The reason for that gets back to what I characterized above as “LUPUS.” It’s disappointing, but hardly surprising, that Washington wouldn’t go there.

I should also point out that much of the $35 billion the Obama administration and Harry Reid wished to get out to schools to preserve teachers’ jobs would likely have gone to Detroit and other school districts — so they could keep on doing what they’ve been doing so poorly for decades.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Arab Spring Update: Libyan Division

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:23 pm

From the UK Telly:

Libya’s liberation: interim ruler unveils more radical than expected plans for Islamic law
Libya’s interim leader outlined more radical plans to introduce Islamic law than expected as he declared the official liberation of the country.

Nobody saw this coming (/sarc).

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UPDATE: An emailer tipped me to this. Can you imagine how much grief a Republican or conservative cabinet official would be getting if they had said something like HIllary did, as noted here

Shortly there after, the same cameras captured the moment she learned that Gaddafi was dead, which had the Secretary of State joyously proclaiming “we came, we saw, he died!”

Now she wants an investigation into his death. My emailer believes it’s a way of backing off of her callous, militaristic remark. Good point.

WaPo Punked by Berkeley Warmist Posing as Skeptic (BizzyBlog Update: Research Grant Scam?)

WaPoLogoYesterday, in what appears to have been a not particularly sweat-breaking research enterprise, blogger Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail demonstrated that the Richard Muller, a Berkley scientist who the Washington Post’s Brad Plumer declared to be a “cliimate skeptic,” has been a believer in human-caused global warming — since the 1980s.

Muller convinced Plumer that as a result of looking at matters more closely, he has now become convinced that his skepticism was unwarranted. In Plumer’s words, “Muller’s team appears to have confirmed the basic tenets of climate science.” Surber smelled insincerity, and found supporting evidence quite quickly, which of course makes one wonder why Plumer didn’t even bother to look for it, or was so clumsy that he failed to find any (bolds are mine):

WaPo’s “skeptic” actually has backed global warming for 30 years

… physicist Richard Muller of Berkeley — embraced the theory of man-made global warming 30 years ago. An online search easily disproved his claim of skepticism. He co-authored a book, “Physics For Future Presidents,” that explained climate change among other things. Now he has re-branded himself a former skeptic — the better to sell global warming.

… Richard Muller is not who he says he is. He is an advocate of the theory of man-made global warming.

… From Grist on October 6, 2008 (Note the title, “Author and physicist Richard A. Muller chats with Grist about getting science back in the White Hous” [sic] — Ed.): “The bottom line is that there is a consensus — the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] — and the president needs to know what the IPCC says. Second, they say that most of the warming of the last 50 years is probably due to humans.” … “back in the early ’80s, I resigned from the Sierra Club over the issue of global warming. At that time, they were opposing nuclear power. What I wrote them in my letter of resignation was that, if you oppose nuclear power, the U.S. will become much more heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and that this is a pollutant to the atmosphere that is very likely to lead to global warming.

Gosh, in prior eras getting deceived so easily might have caused a reporter such as Plumer to be the subject of disciplinary action. Does anyone think we’ll see any of in this instance?

Odds of WaPo retracting this story: About the same as the chance that they’ll retract the garbage the paper produced on Thursday about Marco Rubio, which John Podhoretz at Commentary described on Friday as “one of the more disgraceful pieces of personal hit journalism in memory.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: Great point at The Other McCain

I think Surber missed the lead: Muller got $150,000 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation for his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Who approved that grant? What did Muller tell the folks at Koch about himself and his project? Wouldn’t it suggest the possibility of research fraud, if Muller was willing to misrepresent his views in order to obtain funding or to promote his findings?

Oct. 13 at At AP: Lech Walesa, ‘Legendary Freedom Leader’; Now: ‘Lech Who?’

On October 13, Monika Scislowska of the Associated Press reported that a “legendary freedom leader … says he supports the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York that protests corporate greed,” and that “that he is planning either a visit or a letter to the protesters.” That leader would be Poland’s former President Lech Walesa.

On Friday, October 21, at 5:01 p.m., Adam Andrzejewski at BigGovernment.com (HT Smitty at The Other McCain) reported that “Based on our discussion and intervention, President Walesa is not going to get involved with the OWS.” The AP’s follow-up story is below:

APsearchOnWalesa102311

That’s right, a search on Walesa’s last name at the Associated Press’s main site returns nothing.

LechWalesa2009

Andrzejewski at BigGov elaborates:

We suspected that the European news media had filtered out accurate information about the genesis of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

When Walesa’s comments hit the AP wire last week, my team immediately reached out to our Polish contacts. We made the point that the political themes of Occupy Wall Street may have started out with some of the principles that we share, but OWS themes were rapidly being morphed into anti-freedom and anti-liberty messages. At the core is the want for a big, powerful central government to dominate the lives of individual citizens.

Using biggovernment.com plus other news sources, rapidly we painted an accurate picture of the groups training, leading, and organizing the “movement.” The movement is organized by anarchists, Code Pink, the American Communist movement, jihadists, anti-Israel, socialist, and anti- free enterprise interests. OWS folks are politically to the left of President Barack Obama.

At the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, they were thankful to receive this information.

Based on our discussion and intervention, President Walesa is not going to get involved with the OWS. He is not comfortable with the “organizations” behind the movement. It was not a difficult discussion.

The lifetime of good work exercised by President Walesa has lifted people around the world fighting tyranny. Through the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, Walesa has supported freedom and liberty around the world. As a man primarily responsible for vanquishing communism in Poland, Walesa has a personal bent toward helping the underdog and the downtrodden.

So it’s news at the Associated Press when Walesa jumps on board the “Occupy” train, but not when he figures out that he was misled, and jumps off.

Oh look! There’s Pete “I still call myself a communist” Seeger! At the AP via Cristian Salazar, he’s just a “folk music legend.”

The bias could not be more obvious.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Three Years, $4 Trillion, and ‘All the Right Choices’ Later’) Is Up (Update: A Look at 2011 vs. 2007 Spending)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:43 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Sub-headline: “Another near-bankruptcy milestone. It’s hardly an accident.”

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UPDATE: Just for the heck of it, let’s look at some spending comparisons of fiscal 2011 to 2007 (the last fiscal year tied to a GOP-controlled Congress), in categories unaffected by the accounting games described here (all numbers in billions) –

Agriculture — $139.4 vs. $84.4, up 65%
Defense — $678.1 vs. $529.9, up 28% (this at least generated results)
Energy — $31.4 vs. $20.1, up 56%
EPA — $10.8 vs. $8.3, up 30%
HHS — $891.2 vs. $672.0, up 33%
HUD — $57.0 vs. $45.6, up 25%
Labor — $135.0 vs. $47.5, up 184%
Office of Personal Management — $74.1 vs. $58.5, up 27%
Social Security Adm. — $784.1 vs. $621.8, up 26%
State — $24.3 vs. $13.7, up 77%
Transportation — $77.3 vs. $61.7, up 25% (so where’s the “infrastructure”?)
Veterans Affairs — $126.0 vs. $72.8, up 73%

Inflation from September 30, 2007 to September 30, 2011 was less than 9%.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102311)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder is below. Other topics are also fair game.

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In his latest writeup at National Review, Mark Steyn, linking back to a March item from Kevin Williamson which makes two interesting points the Occupy Wall Street folks (who claim to represent “the 99%,” but “speak” only for themselves), to the extent they have critical thinking skills, might wish to ponder. As expressed by Steyn:

  • … “in order to balance the budget of the United States, you would have to increase the taxes of people earning more than $250,000 a year by $500,000 a year.”
  • … “to balance the budget of the United States on the backs of millionaires you would have to increase the taxes of those earning more than 1 million a year by 6 million a year.” (technically, “people earning more than $1 million a year” — Ed.)

That would be on top of what they already pay.

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From IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have dodged prosecution in the U.S., but that’s hardly the entire story — “A police probe into pimping at a French luxury hotel has uncovered evidence that Dominique Strauss-Kahn attended sex soirees with prostitutes paid for by businessmen, newspapers reported on Friday.”

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The latest from Iowa (It averages out to “Cain 37, Romney 27, Paul 12, Gingrich 8″; Original source; HT to and graphic from Hot Air):

IowaGOPpoll1011

Imagine how well Cain would be doing if here were campaigning hard. (/sarc)

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Former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, who happens to African-American: “I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office.”Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (who supported voter ID when he was a state representative but now opposes it), call your office.

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Communicate this info at your own risk: “… psychologists have proven that guys are funnier than gals. But just by a smidge.”

Positivity: 100-year-old sets record with marathon finish

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Toronto (HT Daryn Kagan):

Posted: Oct 16, 2011 5:59 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 16, 2011 10:26 PM ET

Fauja Singh, 100, finished Toronto’s waterfront marathon Sunday evening, securing his place in Guinness World Records as the oldest person — and the first centenarian — to ever accomplish a run of that distance.

Singh, a British citizen, was the last person to complete the race, crossing the finish line just before 6 p.m. ET with a time of 8 hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds.

Although event workers were dismantling the barricades and taking down sponsor banners as he made his way up the final few hundred metres of the race, a throng of media, family, friends and supporters were there when Singh made marathon history.

Singh, who only speaks Punjabi, said through his coach and translator Harmander Singh that he had set a target time of nine hours.

“He’s absolutely overjoyed. He’s achieved his life-long wish,” his coach said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.