Saturday, March 25, 2023

Black-White Test Score Differences

From the Brookings Insitute:

The gap appears before children enter kindergarten and it persists into adulthood. It has narrowed since 1970, but the typical American black still scores below 75 percent of American whites on almost every standardized test.

...when black or mixed-race children are raised in white rather than black homes, their pre-adolescent test scores rise dramatically. These adoptees’ scores seem to fall in adolescence, but this could easily be because their social and cultural environment comes to resemble that of other black teenagers.

Studies of mixed-race children and black children adopted by white parents suggest, however, that racial differences in test performance are largely if not entirely environmental in origin.

Collecting accurate data on black and white parents’ habits, values, behavior, and ideas is not easy, and it would take time.

The timing of the gap (occurring before formal education) suggests that the culture of African-American child-raising, whatever the differences might be, are key players in the differences.

I suspect the typical African-American parent might spend less time with the child on their lap reading books to them. Kids learn about those black-squiggles being important while sitting on that lap. They learn about left-to-right, top-to-bottom hierarchies.

Interactive toys like this alphabet floor-mat or basic shapes floor-mat can be introduced at a very early age. 

Magnetic letters are an easy way to introduce the young child to the fact they can manipulate those squiggles and can order them in meaningful spell their name. Key points are to select BIG letters to avoid choking hazard and to work around the limitations of fine-motor skills a young kid might have. Another point is to keep it simple. All you need are the upper-case letters for the little nippers. 

Letter-sound connections can be painlessly imparted with songs.

Finally, once your little bundle-of-joy starts trudging off to school, sets of "pattern books" will make them feel successful and start the reading habit.

Age appropriate cook-books are a great way to connect "Reading" with "Empowerment". Those black squiggles can show you how to turn flour, eggs, sugar...into cookies.

Do any of you readers have any suggestions you would like to share with new parents (or grandparents) to help their kids be academically successful? Please feel free to share them in comments.


  1. Reading

    These things develop the mind, the body, the spirit. All are equally important. But if circumstance decided only one to he chosen, it is reading. Although personally I think it would be life bereft.

  2. I'm fairly sure that in every profile of a black in America who has found success, they speak of the cultural impediments to that success.

    I certainly do blame the democrats, notably LBJ and his Great Society. No, his wasn't the first, but was the deepest.

    Generations later and the blacks, as a group, fight unto death to keep their chains intact. Incredible

  3. I came back to comment on something which applies here but you mention in the 'Indigestion' post.

    In my previous comments here I was going to mention the importance of ownership, and the responsibility therein.

    To wit; at age 3 my parents began buying Golden Bound storybooks for me. It can be said that this was the genesis of my personal library. Because the many books were mine, because they were placed in my care, I jealously guarded them. And because they held great value to me, I read them over and over again.

    This led to a growing library. And it wasn't much of a leap from reading for enjoyment/building a vocabulary to hard sciences to mathematics.

    Not to boast but as example of importance of the aforementioned, at age eight I was reading tovthe eleventh grade level. Thank you mom and dad.

    Also, the investment in books is a ready alternative to the presence of your parents or elders. Insinuated is it is a parent's very poor excuse to say they are too busy. Indeed, reading does not require personal interaction, even to suggest their absence is appreciated for a time.

    1. You bring up an important concept: "Ownership".

      The parent(s) will have little or no ownership if the government gives them books or learning aids. They need to buy them with discretionary funds. That is, they need to forego some luxury to reinforce the priority, in both their minds and the child's, of education.

      The second-best scenario is to have grandma purchase those items. Third-best is baby-shower gifts.

    2. "buying in". Exactly.
      My late mother recalled her 1940s nurses training in a large Midwestern city. Senior students visited newborns & moms at home as part of a *free* "well baby" program. Most of the visits were to working class and poor European "ethnics" (Poles, Slovaks, Croats etc).
      It was very common for these economically struggling families to INSIST on paying for her visit. My mother explained "no, no it's FREE". They we're insulted.
      Her teaching supervisor told it happens all the time and next time a family offers money to go ahead and just take it. The money went to a charity box that provided aid to the poorest of the poor.
      Her experience was drilled into my brain. Lessons about value, family, pride and Grace.

  4. To read to your child the parent has to be able to read themselves. Many adults are poor or non-readers because the schools abandoned the time-tested Phonics method for fad after fad of flawed instruction.

    That is one of many many 'improvements' created by Ed majors that need to be removed from primary education. I swear we should all demand our local school districts go back to the books and teaching methods of the 50s.

  5. Perhaps the issue is cultural. But likely not (at lest not entirely). There is also an IQ gap that is there that isn't caused by culture.....

  6. When you treat your child like a blessing and not just a means to a welfare check, it makes a big difference.

  7. Phonics! The back of the paperback "Why Johnnie Can't Read" from the last fifties is a phonics primer. My mother taught me to read using this in the summer between first and second grade.

    Teach them to read and then provide better stories than " See Spot run, Run Spot run." Job done. It wouldn't hurt to model the behaviors you wish to see.

  8. It's not only what you do, but also what you don't do. Don't do TV. Instead choose dvds or stream specific shows for young kids. Don't let them play endless games. Computers and phones are great tools to take advantage of, but for specific tasks, not for making kids addicted. Forget about social media for kids.


  9. I recall a conversation with my kids pediatrician when we were moving across town into an older home (lead paint concerns). She said she has kids 3, 4, 5 years old, that already test so high on blood lead levels, there is no hope, ever. The child will be a ward of the state forever, one way or another. At 3 years old....

    And this might be unpopular, but... while it must feel great to be a bleeding heart liberal, and it is true the child doesn't get to pick the environment it was born into, at what point do the rest of us get to stop picking up the slack other people let out? It was your kid, you fucked it up, now I have to pay to raise it, or watch it wander through the criminial justice system (again at my expense, both in tax money and as a crime victim)? Awwwww hell no!
    This has been going on my entire life, we call it 'society' and think its all so wonderful the less fortunate... bullshit! They're lazy, stupid, entitled, and a drag on our society. All of them, the white, brown, and yellow ones too. This screed is completely non-racial... it affects all colors.
    My kids are smart. I get to pay out of my pocket for tutors and education up to their level. Your kid is retarded, so we all get to foot the bill for that? Da fuq came up with this system? We hold the high achievers down (by not funding them) so that those on the bottom rungs can go up one peg? I have personally seen MILLIONS poured into one individual to try to get them functional enough to live in a group home, but theres no resources for the next Elon Musk. He is smart, he should pay his own way. Damned bleeding hearts ain't got a lick for that person, always lifting the bottom up, so they can have that smug sense of self satisfsction. I don't understand why our society has become so inverted in this regard? All of our resources get funneled to the bottom of the barrel, and we're told thats good for society? Tide raises all ships? But what if we spent equal resources on our super achievers? Would it not be possible they could improve life for the masses by raising the ceiling? Why is everything always about helping the 'less fortunate' (see how we even use emotive language to describe sub-standard individuals?) and raising them up off the bottom? Why are high achievers expected to perform for themselves? Where would our society be if we pushed just some of our resources towards helping the top tier people to achieve even higher? Living on Mars by now? Solved world hunger?
    Its not that I begrudge helping out people that need it, I hate how everything is always funneled into this giant sucking black hole that exists at the bottom of our society, and theres nothing left over for the people who actually produce. We constantly take from the productive, to give to the unproductive.
    So that 3 year old brain damaged kid got 12 years of a classroom with 6 teachers for 9 students, a bus ride everywhere, free lunch for life and college tuition. I got to rent an iPad for my kid, because I didn't let them gnaw on my windowsills at the new house. I DO NOT understand why it has become everyones problem to pitch in at the bottom, and nobody does nothing at the top, you're on your own! In fact, we had to lower the bar even further so now theres more of you fending for yourselves! You'll have to learn about nuclear reactors and space exploration on youtube. Instead we took 3 women with 5 graduate degrees 2 years to teach Corky how to sort all the triangles into the right places.
    This is progress????
    Stop the world.... I want to get off!

  10. Ya know, we're not allowed to say that out loud.

  11. You need to be able to read to be able to learn....

  12. That's the difference between average IQ of 85 and average IQ of 100. None of the culture stuff is going town close that gap. If little Shontavious is one standard deviation below average for his race, he's never going to learn to read no matter what. IQ 70 is profoundly retarded.



    Why Kids Aren’t Falling in Love With Reading

  14. Uncle would sit me on his lap, open the newspaper and read me the articles. He loved the opinion page and would ask me question and talk about it. Then the comics. I read to my kids endlessly and both are still big readers. Both with advanced degrees. I found an 8th grade test to graduate from back in 1895. Good heavens above I doubt one of the people sitting in the oval office could even answer more than one question let alone any college graduate today. When I read it I was astounded at the knowledge they imparted to children by the 8th grade.

  15. I’ve always said the best thing my mother ever did for my next oldest brother and I was allow us to stay up 30 minutes past our bedtime, but only if we spent it reading!

  16. I am going to put a plug in for comic books as a way to get kids interested in reading. Reading ANYTHING is a good way to get reading momentum started. Get kids interested in something. For me it was war stories, a brother was dinosaurs, a sister was how things are built.

  17. mother was european
    read to us all the time
    weather permitting we walked to the library every week [thanks for the library mr carnegie!]
    we both read well before we went to school even though we had never heard the word 'alphabet'
    an extra book at bedtime was a treat if we had been well behaved
    read out loud to kids
    my own learned the same way
    it actually makes them smart


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