Identifying as Asian in an elite Maskachusetts school

From a friend in the Boston suburbs:

[Asian-American son] applied to be a student advisor and was turned down. He was perplexed as he has the highest GPA in the [expensive private] school of 500 students and gets along with everyone. He is a volunteer for the Special Olympics and helps people without being condescending. Everyone likes him. Even girls invite him to their birthday parties. He later found out that two of his black friends who didn’t apply got it. They said the school reached out to them and talked them into doing it, so they applied and were selected.

(Deplorable failure to capitalize Black in original. I can verify the father’s high opinion of this kid’s personality. He’s super smart, relaxed, athletic, and never brags.)

Different friend in the Boston suburbs:

guys, after several months of constant assault by [the wife], [the son] got himself a date to the prom

his sister tried everything – called him an incel

what’s the difference between [my wife] and a pitbull?

at some point, the pitbull lets go.

The future prom king is tall, fit, and looks great by my standards (i.e., is not old). I had previously asked him why he wasn’t exploring the public high school female population. He said, “I don’t agree with their value system. They say that you’re not sophisticated if you haven’t slept with at least five people before graduating high school.” I replied, “Well, if that’s all it takes then we can go down to the nearest bathhouse tonight and you can have sex with five guys in a couple of hours.” (The family has not invited me back into their home.)

Related… (NBC)

Helms Ategeka, a top Head-Royce School student, was accepted to 122 colleges and received $5.3 million in collective scholarships.

“I feel really lucky that there are people out there, that there are institutions out there that see the value that I have to give,” Helms said.

Helms believes it was his nearly 10 extracurriculars, spanning from choir to theater to starting his own club, along with his 3.9 GPA that set him apart on paper.

Full post, including comments

Elite high school senior thesis

From $55,000/year (tuition alone) Boston University Academy, a senior thesis project for 2024:

To make sure that the scholar won’t be identifiable if the academic discipline of Comparative Victimhood ever wanes in intellectual prestige, I have removed his/her/zir/their name from the poster and added a fashion item.

Note that the poster on the left is all about Simone de Beauvoir, “Beaver” to Jean-Paul Sartre.

Here’s a close-up of the brilliant young person’s work, supervised by Dr. Kristin Jewell:

Let’s check the teacher’s Facebook page:

Let’s return to the poster…

A few unusual spellings and punctuations:

  • feeligns
  • non_American (generates warm feeligns in my Oracle RDBMS programmer’s heart)
  • instnace

A book jacket with the author’s name “Cathy Park Hong” is depicted while, above, the author’s name is spelled “CATHAY Park Hong”.

“The issues in pursuing status in a system that once [targeted?] and continues to target people of color” needs some help to qualify as Standard English?

“Despite the massive contributions [by] and exploitation of Chinese immigrant workers none were allowed in the commemorative photo” is missing a word?

Cathy Park Hong (from Cathay?) wrote about “What minor feelings are”, according to the poster. What if the minor feeling is “For $55,000/year in high school tuition, the teacher should show students how to run posters through spellcheck”?

More substantively, does the poster imply that “people of color” in South Korea (i.e., Koreans) are worse off today because the American military prevented the North Korean government from taking over what is today South Korea? Whites got a great deal because we can buy Samsung phones, sophisticated semiconductors, and Kia Tellurides while “people of color” suffer in Seoul?

Full post, including comments

Don’t let your kids take challenging classes in high school

I’ve been talking to Canadian and American friends after this latest round of college admissions and they have one message in common: Don’t let kids take honors and AP classes in high school. College admissions these days are mostly about GPA, which means that a B in AP physics is toxic compared to an A in basket-weaving. It’s also important to send kids to a high school where grading is relatively easy. From a Maskachusetts friend:

I found out that even though you need just 60% to score a 5/5 on AP Physics C, our [rich suburb public] school still applies the scale where 92+ is an A. So [my son] is scoring 80+ on the tests consistently and will end up with a B+ or even a B- and obviously will get a 5. I asked around and most schools apply the 60+ = A scale to APs. People in 3 private schools said that 70+ on AP Calc BC in their school is an A.

I’m not sure how this would work in Florida where high school kids are entitled to take college courses in actual colleges (for free and the state also pays for their textbooks). Does the college class grade end up being rolled into their high school GPA? This FAQ suggests that dual enrollment grades are weighted into a GPA the same as an AP course grade.

Also toxic:

  • applying from rich suburbs of Northeast cities
  • activities that sound elite (unless the kid is good enough at an elite sport to get admitted via athletics)

Speaking of schools, it was almost exactly four years ago (May 2020) when Donald Trump denied Science (Anthony Fauci) and said that American public schools should be reopened (which Democrat-run cities did… 10-16 months later). “Trump Pointedly Criticizes Fauci for His Testimony to Congress” (NYT, May 13, 2020):

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who had warned against reopening the country too quickly and stressed the unknown effects the coronavirus could have on children returning to school.

“I was surprised by his answer,” Mr. Trump told reporters who had gathered in the Cabinet Room for the president’s meeting with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota. “To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

The president’s desire to reopen schools and businesses in order to bring back the economy has often led to public clashes over the guidance provided by Dr. Fauci, who has warned that taking a cavalier attitude toward reopening the country could invite unnecessary suffering caused by a virus scientists are still struggling to understand.

Dr. Fauci also told the Senate panel that a vaccine for the coronavirus would almost certainly not be ready in time for the new school year, and warned of the dangers of the virus to children.

“Now when you have an incident, one out of a million, one out of 500,000, will something happen? Perhaps,” Mr. Trump said, minimizing the risk to children of returning to school. “But you can be driving to school and some bad things can happen, too.”

Mr. Trump added: “This is a disease that attacks age and it attacks health and if you have a heart problem, if you have diabetes, if you’re a certain age, it’s certainly much more dangerous. But with the young children, I mean, and students, it is really just take a look at the statistics, it is pretty amazing.”

As someone who has spent a lot of time teaching probability theory, I am cheered to see that the president of the U.S. in 2020 was using it!

Speaking of Canada… (Toronto Star)

Full post, including comments

Schools and Science intersect to form absenteeism

In order to protect 8-year-olds from a virus that was killing Americans at a median age of 82, Science said that it made sense to close public schools for between 3 and 18 months, depending on the degree to which Democrats controlled a city/state. (Adults continued to mix freely at alcohol and marijuana stores, on Tinder, in quickly-reopened restaurants, etc.) This was almost certain to result in premature deaths many decades from now due to the correlation between years of education and life expectancy. However, it looks like the loss of years of education has continued beyond the 18 months that schools were closed in the Cities of the Righteous. From the New York Times, March 29, 2024:

The article is primarily based on “Long COVID for Public Schools: Chronic Absenteeism Before and After the Pandemic” (American Enterprise Institute, January 31, 2024).

Lengthy school closures were primarily perpetrated by politicians and bureaucrats who claim that racial equity is their first priority, but it turns out that the school systems that suffered the worst long-term consequences were “majority nonwhite”:

Florida isn’t mentioned in the article, but if we dig into the underlying PDF report, it turns out that Governor DeSantis forcing teachers to return to work in the fall of 2020 was minimally helpful. Chronic absenteeism went from about 20 percent to about 31 percent in Deplorably Open Florida, very similar to Virtuously Closed New York’s numbers.

Maybe the answer is that even a few months of school closure communicates to about 10 percent of American families that school isn’t important?

Could we use Science to solve this created-by-Science problem? If half a year off school (Florida) was just as pernicious for attitudes toward attendance as 1.5 years off school (New York) maybe we should eliminate the summer break from school for at least two years to re-instill the habit of going to school every day. If unionized teachers refuse to work more than 185 days per year, we could either hire some summer-only teachers or distribute the summer days off more evenly around the calendar so that teachers worked the same number of days. We could have multiple three-week breaks during the year, for example.

Who else doesn’t bother showing up to school since coronapanic introduced them to the joys of being home M-F with the Xbox? Teachers! NYT:

Teachers typically receive paid sick days and a small number of personal days. Over the 2022-23 school year in New York City, nearly one in five public schoolteachers was absent 11 days or more, an increase from the previous year and from before the pandemic. In Michigan, roughly 15 percent of teachers were absent in any given week last school year, compared with about 10 percent in 2019, researchers found.

Related… from Science itself (the CDC), which said “yes” to booze and “no” to schools (and maybe the CDC itself was imbibing when it told everyone to wear cloth masks as PPE against an aerosol virus):

In the case the tweet gets memory-holed:

Full post, including comments

Covidcrats’ war on poor children, quantified

The New York Times has a story on how the coronapanic shutdowns set American K-12 students back (which is the same as killing them, by COVID standards, since people with less education tend to live shorter lives and any shortening of a life can be considered a “COVID death”). Of course, the headline is about the “surprising rebound” (every action taken by a Covidcrat was actually beneficial when viewed in the proper light).

The article has a side note that the recovery in reading ability has been weaker and then proceeds to present charts only on math test scores, where the “rebound” has been stronger. Your kids’ rebound energy may vary, depending on family wealth (like life expectancy, correlated with education). The poor kids were destroyed:

So the poor kids are now likely to have both intensified poverty and intensified ignorance as factors in shortening their lives (plus the Biden-era flood of migrants, who are correlated with unemployment and incarceration for the low-skilled native-born).

The NYT journalists and editors don’t mention what happened in the one state where school closure was limited by the governor to about 3 months: Florida. Digging into their cited data source, characterized as a “national study” and with analysis “led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard”, it appears that Florida was ignored by the academic worthies (maybe anti-Science DeSantis suppressed data?).

Sweden recently showed a decline in PISA scores, suggesting that keeping schools open is just as bad for kids as closing them.

Full post, including comments

Intersection of low-skill migration and school closure

Loyal readers are aware of my interests in the effect of low-skill immigration on American society and the passion of government bureaucrats for closing public schools in favor of an online school fraud. These intersected today in the Sanctuary City of New York. “NYC students forced to go remote as city houses nearly 2K migrants displaced by storm at their school” (New York Post):

Students at a Brooklyn high school were kicked out of the classroom to make room for nearly 2,000 migrants who were evacuated from a controversial tent shelter due to a monster storm closed in on the Big Apple.

The city made the move amid concerns that a massive migrant tent at Floyd Bennett Field would collapse from torrential rains and gusting winds — packing them instead into the second-floor gym at James Madison High School five miles away.

“There’s 1,900 people getting thrown into my neighborhood, half a block from where I live and we don’t know who they are,” he said. “They’re not vetted. A lot of them have criminal records and backgrounds and we don’t even know.”

How would Americans “vet” migrants? What do we know about who did what in various foreign countries?

“They told us we had to get everything out by 5 [p.m.],” gym teacher Robyn Levy said outside the school. “They sent us the email at 6 in the morning. I don’t know when we’ll be able to back.

“What I want to know is why here?” Levy said. “Why not send them somewhere where students wouldn’t be disrupted, where students learning wouldn’t be disrupted?”

Why indeed? If there are only 1,900 migrants and the majority of New Yorkers wanted the city to be a sanctuary for the undocumented, why can’t 1,900 spare bedrooms be found among the righteous?

Here’s what used to be a convenient runway…

Full post, including comments

White vs. Black in Maskachusetts

From a chat group with some of my friends who are still up in the Boston suburbs:

[9th grader] lost points on a grammar test today because she capitalized Black and also White when referring to groups of people. Her teacher said that only Black should be capitalized, as that is an identity – but white is just a color and doesn’t refer to a cohesive group of people.


My friend wrote a letter to the head of the private school saying they should take down the BLM-logo mural because they endorse the Palestinian attack. After much pressure, she agreed to replace it with a general message of inclusion without the BLM logo. This is what it was replaced with:

Full post, including comments

Getting into an elite college via fencing

I was recently sentenced to being a spectator at the USA Fencing October North American Cup, held in Orlando’s convention center (America’s 2nd largest, after Chicago’s). In épée, one scores a point by touching one’s opponent anywhere. The tip of the sword responds to pressure. You could score a point by touching the ground or your own foot, for example. Each competitor’s épée is attached to a retractable wire tether. The competitors go back and forth on a conductive mat. If the sword tip is touched to the mat, that does not register a point (but touching just to the side of the mat, unless the ref notices, will score a point). If you think that your friend has just scored a point, having advanced dramatically with sword pointed at the opponent’s body, almost surely he/she/ze/they has just lost a point.

My friend refuses to accept the limitations of age and was mixing it up with college students. He was thus eliminated after a few hours. His main reason for traveling to Orlando, however, was for the kids, both in high school. The event was packed with Chinese- and Indian-American families anxious to get their cherished offspring into elite universities. What are their chances? “A boy needs to be ranked in the top 20 nationally to get into a decent college,” my friend said, “while a girl can get in by being anywhere in the top 40.” Why the difference? “A lot of colleges have women’s fencing programs, but not men’s. This is so that they can keep their Title IX balance when they have a football team, for example, for which only men are good enough.” He cited Tufts, Brown, and Cornell as examples of schools with no men’s fencing (a larger list). Here’s an excerpt of a federal form:

(Note the gender binarism on parade! Athletes count only if they identify as either “men” or “women”.)

Reflecting the sport’s center of gravity being in the Northeast, USA Fencing went all-in on forced masking and forced vaccination. They formerly required proof of Covid-19 vaccination and then proof of booster shots for the fit teenagers who were competing (at a time when the injections were not FDA-approved, but only emergency use authorized) and also for the middle aged parents who wanted to enter the venue as spectators. Everyone within the venue had to wear a basic mask and competitors had to wear masks under their fencing masks. Coronapanic was great for my friend’s kids. While their competitors lost a year due to fencing clubs being shut down, they were being trained in their 3-car garage by their dad, a world-class fencer in his youth. (Coronapanic also helped their relative academic ranking. Their education continued uninterrupted while comparatively poor kids in big Democrat-run cities lost 12-18 months.)

Despite masks now being optional, I was able to find an example of dressing to defend oneself against a virus armed with a sword:

Note that #Science told this fencer to wear a full beard in addition to the (now-voluntary) mask.

Although everyone at the competition whom I met resided in the U.S., those who were immigrants from foreign countries would usually have a country affiliation other than “USA” on their back, e.g., “MAR” for Morocco (Maroc). Players from The Country That Shall Not Be Named were required to sign papers denouncing Vladimir Putin and the Russian military in order to compete. They would then appear without a country affiliation on their backs.

Circling back to the college admissions angle, think about the parental investment required for this gambit: years of driving to a local fencing club several times per week and weekends devoted to competitions multiple states away. All in hopes that one’s son can reach the Top 20 or that one’s daughter can reach the Top 40. Note that a non-Asian athlete will usually have an advantage over an equally-ranked Asian fencer. Coaches have found that a lot of the pushed-hard-through-high-school Asian kids quit fencing early in their college careers, saying “my parents want me to focus on getting into medical school.” The non-Asians have been more likely to stick with the sport.

How about getting your flu and Covid-19 vaccines at the event? Nothing could have been easier. The event had been going for about 16 hours when I stopped to check. Given a crowd of people with a track record of doing absolutely anything that the government tells them to do, the pair below had injected… two people (one every 8 hours).

What else was happening? I stopped on the way up at Bok Tower Gardens, a truly magnificent

We were staying at the Hilton next to the convention center, so I took my friend, pumped full of Advil, to SeaWorld across the street as a cultural experience.

You can celebrate Pride together with Shamu:

SeaWorld reminds visitors that immigrant lionfish are “disruptive” and the term “non-native” is used in a pejorative manner.

(I’m not sure that it can be blamed on the mass immigration of lionfish, but Interstate 4 between Disney World and Orlando was subject to traffic jams at all hours of the day and night (e.g., at 10 pm). Congested as the roads are with 2.7 million people in the metro area, the population is expected to grow by 75 percent between now and 2060.)

I also took my fencing friend to Disney Springs. The M&M store:

Full post, including comments

New York Times explores the low SAT scores of poor children

“New SAT Data Highlights the Deep Inequality at the Heart of American Education” (New York Times, October 22, 2023):

One-third of the children of the very richest families scored a 1300 or higher, while less than 5 percent of middle-class students did, according to the data, from economists at Opportunity Insights, based at Harvard. Relatively few children in the poorest families scored that high; just one in five took the test at all.

The disparity highlights the inequality at the heart of American education: Starting very early, children from rich and poor families receive vastly different educations, in and out of school, driven by differences in the amount of money and time their parents are able to invest. And in the last five decades, as the country has become more unequal by income, the gap in children’s academic achievement, as measured by test scores throughout schooling, has widened.

What are readers supposed to do with this information? SAT scores are correlated with job performance. By highlighting the dismal scores of a subset of Americans on its front page, is the NYT trying to persuade readers to avoid hiring those who grew up in poverty?

The Newspaper of Truth says that helicopter parenting is the sure path to a smart kid:

Parents have embraced what researchers call intensive parenting — the idea that parents should immerse children in constant learning. Half a century ago, rich and poor parents spent about the same amount of time with their children. Now high-income parents spend more one-on-one time with them, doing activities like reading — what Robert Putnam, the political scientist who wrote “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” calls “‘Goodnight Moon’ time.”

If true, shouldn’t the SAT scores of children from high-income families be much higher today compared to in the 1970s? The NYT cites no evidence to suggest that “Goodnight Moon” time has helped the privileged brats of today compared to 1970s kids who were left with their toys while moms socialized over gin and tonics, read their own books, had sex with neighbors (“One woman who married at 20 started an affair within a year. ”I think it’s your way of asserting that you can still act independently,” said the woman, now in her mid-30’s.” (NYT 1987)), etc. Also, aren’t the poorest parents the ones who have the most time to spend with kids? Consider what used to be called a “welfare family” whose house, health care, food, smartphone, and broadband are all paid for by taxpayers slaving away at boring jobs. The adults in that family don’t need to suffer the indignity of wage labor in order to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. The NYT does not explain what the jobless poor are doing if not spending time with their children.

One explanation that the NYT does not explore in detail: SAT performance is heritable. If rich parents had high SAT scores and the ability to score well on the SAT is heritable, it would make sense that children of the rich also have high SAT scores. One sentence is devoted to this topic: “Although the heritability of cognitive ability appears to play some role on an individual level, there is also a lot of evidence that environment matters.” There is no explanation for why heritability couldn’t play the same role on a neighborhood or city-wide level. If a neighborhood is packed with low-income parents due to everyone with a higher income having moved out, and employers in our modern economy pay for higher cognitive ability, why wouldn’t the average cognitive ability in the low-income neighborhood be low?

In a study of supernerds, it turned out that a higher SAT math score did correlate with higher income. From Insider:

The chart below compares the top (Q4) and bottom quartile (Q1) of the top 1% of performers on the SAT math section. It shows a significant difference, even among those subsets, in performance later in life (participants were surveyed at around age 33). For example, men in Q4 from one study group earn 13 percent more than those in Q1.

Note that “bottom quartile” was not the “bottom quartile” of all Americans who took the SAT, but of the top 1% supernerds. (identified at age 13).

It is surprisingly tough to find a broad study of how SAT scores from, say, 1990, correlate to 2022 income. But it makes sense that there would be a correlation. People who do well on the SAT are good at sitting at a desk, following instructions, being consistent with procedures, etc. These are exactly the capabilities that many high-paying jobs require. Some high-paying jobs, such as physician, have been explicitly limited to those who score well on standardized tests (though that may change; see “Removing the MCAT Could Improve Diversity in Medicine” (Newsweek 2023)).

Circling back to the NYT article, I find it interesting that the possibility of SAT score being heritable was not considered, even for long enough to dismiss it. Let’s also look at the solution:

The solution, researchers say, is addressing achievement gaps much earlier, through things like universal pre-K, increased funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods, and reduced residential segregation.

It could benefit all parents and students, even wealthier ones. Parenting in highly unequal societies is intense and competitive, driven by fear of the increasing risk that children will be worse off than their parents. Parenting in places with less income inequality and more public investment in families is more playful and relaxed, research shows. When the risk of falling is smaller, a college admissions test becomes less fraught.

The “increased funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods” idea seems inconsistent with a note earlier in the article that the typical state is already spending “more for students in low-income schools”. For example, Baltimore, one of the nation’s worst-performing public school systems, was spending over $17,000 per student in pre-Biden money (Fox), above the state average. Was the money effective? “At 13 Baltimore City high schools, zero students tested proficient on 2023 state math exam” (Fox).

[Note that these per-pupil spending numbers are substantially fraudulent. They don’t count capital costs, which are enormous. When $154 million is spent on a new high school (see ), that isn’t “spending”. Nor is the cost of the real estate considered. Baltimore official spending is up to about 22,000 Bidies per year per student, but it would perhaps be over 30,000 Bidies per year if these off-books costs were folded in. ]

Given that the number of spaces at elite colleges is held fixed while the population expands, I would like to see an explanation for how the rich will “benefit” if their kids are out-competed for elite college admissions by the children of the poor, whose schools have been turbocharged with extra money (on top of the existing extra money mentioned in the article). Why didn’t Asian-Americans realize how much better off they were when Harvard rejected them in favor of non-Asians? (see Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard) Are Jewish families better off now that their kids can’t get into elite schools? (“Harvard has gone from being 25% Jewish in the 1990s and 2000s to under 10% today. … Penn’s Jewish population declined from 26% in 2015 to 17% in 2021”; Tablet)


Full post, including comments

Social justice in the Palo Alto high school

A friend sent me this assignment, recently given to students at the public high school in Palo Alto, California:

Let’s focus in on a few…

This is a little confusing. Racism explains why “Black and Latino men” are incarcerated at higher rates than other residents of the U.S. But how can racism explain why men are more likely to be incarcerated than people who identify with the other 73 genders recognized by Science?

What would happen to a student who cited Elizabeth Warren as an example?

This is the one that upsets me. Our house is 3 miles from the climate change-enhanced ocean, yet we are redlined by State Farm and excluded from homeowners insurance.

Full post, including comments