Skip to comments.David Brooks: The Harlem Miracle
Posted on 05/09/2009 10:03:32 AM PDT by neverdem
The fight against poverty produces great programs but disappointing results. You go visit an inner-city school, job-training program or community youth center and you meet incredible people doing wonderful things. Then you look at the results from the serious evaluations and you find that these inspiring places are only producing incremental gains.
Thats why I was startled when I received an e-mail message from Roland Fryer, a meticulous Harvard economist. It included this sentence: The attached study has changed my life as a scientist.
Fryer and his colleague Will Dobbie have just finished a rigorous assessment of the charter schools operated by the Harlem Childrens Zone. They compared students in these schools to students in New York City as a whole and to comparable students who entered the lottery to get into the Harlem Childrens Zone schools, but werent selected.
They found that the Harlem Childrens Zone schools produced enormous gains. The typical student entered the charter middle school, Promise Academy, in sixth grade and scored in the 39th percentile among New York City students in math. By the eighth grade, the typical student in the school was in the 74th percentile. The typical student entered the school scoring in the 39th percentile in English Language Arts (verbal ability). By eighth grade, the typical student was in the 53rd percentile...
The approach works. Ever since welfare reform, we have had success with intrusive government programs that combine paternalistic leadership, sufficient funding and a ferocious commitment to traditional, middle-class values. We may have found a remedy for the achievement gap. Which city is going to take up the challenge? Omaha? Chicago? Yours?
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
...Roland Fryer, a meticulous Harvard economist. It included this sentence: The attached study has changed my life as a scientist.
Roland, don’t flatter yourself.
David Brooks drank the Kool Aid
we have had success with intrusive government programs that combine paternalistic leadership, sufficient funding and a
Yes, just like most of the charter schools here have been closed. - abject failures and bastions of corruption.
I suppose you might find one or two somewhere, but the above quote is not going to produce any of that.
If you want success here, fund vouchers and let us go to work.
David Brooks is no more a Republican than I am a Democrat.
The charter school and private school comparisons to public schools are flawed. Most kids (with parental help) who attend these schools are there because they sought to be there.
Apparently Brooks has been doing a lot of thinking recently about how conservatives can repackage themselves to appeal to the American public. He is convinced that deep down, people have no real affinity for limited government and in fact kind of like big intrusive government (hence Obama), and that if the Republicans want to get back in the game they have to accept this and rearrange themselves accordingly.
The question is how can the Pubbies do this while still being in some fundamental way conservative. His solution centers on his notion of “social order” (or something like that - he has a particular terms that he uses). And so here we see a perfect example: an “intrusive government program” that combines “paternalistic leadership” with “sufficient funding” yet retains a “ferocious commitment to traditional, middle-class values”.
According to some chatter at NRO, Brooks is working on a book that fleshes out his idea. If so, it will be interesting to see how he distinguishes it from Bush’s failed notion of compassionate conservatism.
Democrats don’t care what works
Vanguard High School in Colorado Sptings Colorado is a school with 22% below poverty level and 20% “minority”, with lots of military families (it’s near Fort Carson and Peterson AFB) and lots of parents in Afhanistan and Iraq.
In the annual CSAP tests, this high school has the highest scores in the state. And if you visit, you will be even more impressed by the serious attitudes, courteousness, discipline of the students and staff.
And if they had a hundred years to do nothing but visit schools, neither Barack Obama nor Arne Duncan would ever consider visiting it. Because Vanguard’s philosophy is diametrically opposed to “campus chic.”
Charter schools improve student outcomes over public schools.
Voucher programs improve student outcomes over public schools.
These are great improvements to education that are stopped because they take power away from the unions, Govt workers. The educrats care more about the ‘system’ than about helping children.
“Because Vanguards philosophy is diametrically opposed to campus chic.”
What, specifically, are you referring to?
>> The charter school and private school comparisons to public schools are flawed. Most kids (with parental help) who attend these schools are there because they sought to be there. <<
Read the item and then think again:
The study compared (a) kids in charter schools with (b)non-charter kids who had applied for charter schools. Seems to have been virtually a controlled experiment, since the charter kids were chosen in a lottery. In other words, there was no difference in parents’ motivations between charter kids and non-charter kids.
So unless the lottery was crooked (not an impossibility in New York, I’ll admit!), then your criticism would seem unfounded.
The problem is, whatever makes the "new discovery" work, it never seems to transplant well, and soon the whole thing sinks back into mediocrity with little but bales of spent goobermint money to mark its passing.
This is the first time I ever heard one of these stories where anyone actaully pimped for "intrusive government" however.