AUSTIN – Nearly one of every 10 high school seniors – more than 21,000 students from the Class of '05 – can't get a diploma this month because they couldn't pass some portion of the state graduation test after multiple tries, the Texas Education Agency reported Friday.
Minority failure rates were particularly alarming. Fifteen percent of black students and 14 percent of Hispanics – about one in seven – flunked one or more subject areas of the test. The failure rate for whites was 5 percent.
This is the very same Texas where George W. Bush wanted us to believe back in 2000 that he put blacks and Hispanics in Texas on an accelerated learning track with his educational policy changes. Any politician who claims he has greatly improved the outcomes in some state's educational system is a liar.
The TAKS test failures do not even begin to measure the racial differences in educational outcomes in Texas. Texas already has the nation's highest high school drop-out rate and that rate is of course much higher for blacks and Hispanics. Therefore about half of Hispanics do not even stay in school long enogh to take TAKS in the 12th grade.
The TAKS results are incredibly unsurprising. Racial differences in academic performance are pretty stable and substantial. Stefan and Abigail Thernstrom, in their book America In Black And White, compared races by showing what white equivalent grade level of knowledge Hispanics and blacks have achieved when they are in 12th grade.
"… Blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography. In math and geography, indeed, they know no more than whites in the seventh grade. Hispanics do only a little better than African-Americans. In reading and U.S. history, their NAEP scores in their senior year of high school are a few points above those of whites in eighth grade. In math and geography, they are a few points lower."
Students in the 3rd and 5th grades can not advance to the following grade unless they pass the TAKS test for their grade level. Imagine what could result from holding back kids multiple times. Instead of 17 year old Hispanic kids starting 12th grade if they get held back 4 times until they manage to achieve the minimum standard in earlier grades they could end up 17 years old and in 8th grade. Sound unbelievable? But the Thernstroms report that the average Hispanic or black 12th grader is at the same level of knowledge as the average with 8th grader.
Recently, while browsing Tom Wood's new "Right on Race" blog, I had a chance to ask Stefan Thernstrom what the NAEP data actually showed. He graciously provided the following raw data, to which I've added some straightforward calculations. (Number fans click here for table).
Conclusion: overall, the white-immigrant Hispanic achievement gap is actually 14% worse than the notorious white-black disparity.
But for American-born Hispanic children (not just second generation, as many might assume, but the second up through the seventh generation), the gap is 67% as large as the white-black variance.
Exactly as I predicted!
What will American politicians do as the years go by and the use of standard tests and tough requirements for advancement between grades does not close the performance gap between the races? Tough standards will further reduce the number of blacks and Hispanics who get high school diplomas. Will politicians continue to support tough standards as that happens?
The United States should stop the massive Hispanic immigrant influx and it is time we deported all the illegal aliens. The US also needs to raise standards for legal immigrants to assure they and their descendants will be able to perform well in US schools and in the job market.
Students who can not perform well enough to pass tougher tests for high school diplomas ought to be given the opportunity to learn economically useful skills which require less intellectual ability. Most of those students who are not going to cut it academically will still enter the labor force and we woud all be better off if they entered the job market with some vocational training. But those kinds of training are not going to be offered widely enough as long as politicians and pundits pretend that everyone can and should aspire to attend college.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 May 23 09:13 PM Immigration Societal Decay|