Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: Asian students outperform whites because they work harder

This is from Science, one of the top peer-reviewed journals. (H/T Nancy P.)

Excerpt:

When it comes to academic achievement, Asian-Americans outclass every other ethnic group, with more than half over age 25 holding a bachelor’s degree—well above the national average of 28%. To find what gives Asian-Americans a leg up, a team of sociologists scoured two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students. After crunching test scores, GPAs, teacher evaluations, and social factors such as immigration status, the team reports a simple explanation online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesAsian-American students work harder.

The team found that students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability. This outlook, the team argues, causes students to respond to challenges by trying harder and has a greater impact on Asian-Americans’ academic achievement than does cognitive ability or socioeconomic status. However, the team says Asian-American students reported lower self-esteem, more conflict with their parents, and less time spent with friends compared with their white peers. The team suspects the high academic expectations or their “outsider” status in American society could be to blame.

You know, a lot of people blame racism when some minorities underperform at school. But if that were so, then why aren’t Asians affected? The answer is that underperforming at school has nothing to do with race or racism. It’s all about strong marriages, strong families and hard work. Discipline.

The soft bigotry of low expectations

In other news, judges at a debate tournament gave the first prize to two black students who used vulgar language in their speeches.

The College Fix reports.

Excerpt:

This year’s debate question centered on the Presidential War Powers. But Towson, reports The Atlantic, took a different approach:

On March 24, 2014, at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted.

Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.

And how did Towson plead its case? Here’s a censored excerpt provided by Pundit Press:

They say the n*****s always already qu***, that’s exactly the point! It means the impact is that the that the is the impact term, uh, to the afraid, uh, the, that it is a case term to the affirmative because, we, uh, we’re saying that qu*** bodies are not able to survive the necessarily means of the body. Uh, uh, the n***** is not able to survive.

Perhaps I am missing the finer nuances of college debate, but assuming I understand cross-examination debate correctly, this form of incoherent chaos is unacceptable, unprofessional, and in many ways, nonsensical.

For the record, I’m not white. I’m writing about this as one of those overperforming brown-skinned people.

 

Filed under: News, , , ,

Democrats in California want to pass laws to penalize Asians

Basically, the Democrats in California want to pass an affirmative action bill, which would penalize overachievers. Asians tend to outperform other races in academics, so they are always the losers when academic criteria are minimized in favor of racial criteria for college admissions.

Here’s an article from National Review, sent to me by Letitia.

Excerpt:

The California state legislature was on the verge of approving a referendum to restore the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions to state universities.

[...]What both sides of the bimodal Asian immigration population have in common is that their children do uncommonly well in school. They are represented in California’s much-admired universities in far larger numbers than their share of the population would suggest: Asians compose 14 percent of California’s population but 37 percent of the undergraduates at its state universities. They make up about 40 percent of the students at UCLA, 43 percent of the students at Berkeley, half the students at UC San Diego, and more than half of the students at UC Irvine. A relatively small minority, they compose the largest single ethnic group on California university campuses (at least as California defines “ethnic group”).

[...]Liberals talk a great deal of mindless rot about what they like to call “privilege,” the supposedly omnipresent advantages that accrue to the white, the male, the heterosexual, those whose sense of self is more or less congruent with their biological genitals, etc. But it is worth keeping in mind that progressive social-engineering programs such as the use of racial criteria in university admissions do not hurt only hurt well-off white people sporting penises. (Not that we should shortchange the interests of well-off white penis-sporters.) They also hurt poor people and immigrants, in this case a group of immigrants that we as a country should count ourselves lucky to have. It is important to remember why race-based admissions are such an important issue for progressives: The Left lives in the public schools, which do a terrible job of teaching black, Hispanic, and poor students, who consequently show up in embarrassingly small proportions at elite institutions. Asian students, on the other hand, do a tremendous amount of work outside of school, spending ten times as much time as non-Asian students do on organized non-school activities ranging from music lessons to tutoring to test-preparation courses. That is true across the economic spectrum: Working-class Asian immigrant families in Queens send their children to tutoring sessions and piano lessons at a much higher rate than does the non-Asian population, even though the relative financial sacrifices necessary for them to do so are heavy.

For that, California’s professional race hustlers, and their allies across the country, would see them punished.

So, here is another case where the party that talks a lot about racism and race is actually the one that is opposed to Asians getting ahead. My view is that if Asians have the strong families that produce high achievers, then let them be 40% of the students at the university. Maybe then people of other races will get the message that they need to focus more on raising children who can compete. Follow the rules and you won’t be poor: finish high school, get jobs, get married, have children, don’t get divorced. If you follow those rules, you will not be poor, and your children will outperform you.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to increase the number of adoptions in America

Here’s an article from National Review that argues that there is far more demand for children to adopt than there is supply of children to adopt for certain specific reasons.

The article mentions how legalized abortion and pro-eugenic attitudes contribute to diminishing the supply of children via abortion, but then it discusses another reason for reduced supply which I found horrifying. Apparently leftist social workers think that it is a bad idea for white parents to adopt black children, and would prefer those black children grow up in foster care.

Look:

Most of the parents waiting to adopt are white; most of the children awaiting adoption are not. Parents’ attitudes toward transracial adoption have become much more liberal since the 1970s, but the racial attitudes of social workers, those sometimes pitiless gatekeepers on the adoption pilgrimage, have hardened. A study published by the academic journal Child Welfare found that 43 percent of the caseworkers responsible for the longest-waiting black children in New York State expressed hostility toward transracial adoption. Federal law prohibits the use of racial criteria in adoption placement, but ethnic considerations have seeped into the system: The number of transracial adoptions executed each year remains tiny despite the willingness of the majority of couples to adopt a child of a different race. About 8 percent of all adoptions are transracial or cross-cultural — and that number includes international adoptions, commonly from Asia and South America. Professor Judy Fenster of Adelphi University finds that black social workers are particularly inimical to the prospect of cross-racial adoption. It seems that the matchmakers at the heart of the adoption system are part of the problem.

Transracial adoption is a volcanically touchy issue — the National Association of Black Social Workers has deployed weapons-grade rhetoric characterizing the practice as “cultural genocide.” That ideology has had predictable consequences: Black children spend more time in foster care than others, and in general have less luck in finding permanent adoptive homes. The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, a legacy of the late senator Howard Metzenbaum, forbade the use of race as the decisive factor in making adoption-placement decisions, but the language of the statute left those politically opposed to transracial adoptions with room for much mischievous maneuvering. Would-be adoptive parents were disqualified for expressing political opinions at odds with social workers’ preferences.

[...]In one case, a white couple who had hoped to adopt a severely disabled black girl in 1994 were disqualified on political grounds — specifically that they expressed a desire to raise their children to be “colorblind” — and on racial grounds, specifically that they lived in Alaska, which was judged to be superabundantly Caucasian. The couple had raised other severely disabled children of various ethnic backgrounds but they were rejected in favor of a single woman who expressed the “correct” racial attitudes — and who ended up declining to adopt the child, precisely because of her disabilities. The girl in question suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and from Russell-Silver Syndrome, a form of dwarfism associated with, among other things, gastrointestinal difficulties, a triangular face, and asymmetrical body growth. It is difficult to imagine that her most pressing challenge in life was going to be the relative scarcity of black neighbors in Fairbanks.

So, it’s very important to think about the rhetoric of the left on children’s rights and welfare. On the one hand, they talk about wanting to help children. On the other hand, the policies they embrace seem to promote child murder, child abuse, child neglect and child poverty. On the one hand, the secular left is very much in favor of killing children with abortion, or depriving them of fathers with single mother welfare, or depriving them of bio-moms or bio-dads with gay marriage. On the other hand, they are actually working against letting these children be adopted, so much that American parents have to go to other countries to find children to adopt. And even that process is very difficult.

When will we get to the point where we can look at leftists and just flat out say that although they might have good intentions, their policies don’t achieve good results. Maybe a little more compassion for children is needed.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

New study: religious communities have lower rates of crime

From the radically leftist Huffington Post, of all places.

Excerpt:

As a crime stopper, faith may be particularly effective in setting moral norms, building social ties and investing communities with a sense of meaning and purpose, counteracting the “moral cynicism” and individualism that can foster criminal behavior, researchers Ulmer and Casey Harris of the University of Arkansas note in the latest issue of The Sociological Quarterly.

Ulmer and Harris explored “Race and the Religious Contexts of Violence” in their study. They analyzed data from the U.S. Census, the Religious Congregations and Membership Study and crime reports from nearly 200 counties in New York California and Texas. All of the counties had substantial numbers of black, white and Latino residents.

What they found was not only evidence that religion may exert a protective influence discouraging violent crime, but that there are also racial-ethnic differences in the role of faith communities.

Consider these findings:

• Black and white violence decreased significantly as the percentage rose of county residents who belonged to congregations or were regular attenders.
• Black and Latino violence was lower in communities where residents belonged to similar types of religious institutions, indicating faith groups from similar traditions were able to exert greater influence on community values when they had a significant presence.
• Religious homogeneity was not associated with overall rates of white violence, but further breakdowns showed communities with larger percentages of evangelicals had lower rates of white violence. Latino violence was significantly reduced in communities with large numbers of active Catholics.
• Black violence dipped dramatically in counties with high levels of poverty, unemployment and low levels of education where large percentages of residents were active in congregations. This is a key finding, as communities with severe social and economic disadvantages are more likely to have high violent crime rates.

The findings suggest that religious groups have the ability to cultivate moral attitudes “that counteract the code of the streets,” Ulmer says.

The post also includes results from another study, this one featuring over 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 28:

Baylor researchers Sung Joon Jang and Aaron Franzen analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine differences in crime rates among young adults in four categories:

• Religious and spiritual.
• Spiritual but not religious.
• Religious but not spiritual
• Neither religious nor spiritual.

Individuals who identified themselves as “religious” were less likely to be offenders.

However, individuals who were “spiritual but not religious” were more prone to commit violent crime than their “religious and spiritual” counterparts and more likely to commit property crime than emerging adults who were “religious” or “neither religious nor spiritual.”

“Is being ‘spiritual’ enough to reduce criminal propensity without also being religious? Our study suggests the answer is no – at least during emerging adulthood,” Jang and Franzen write in a recent issue of the journal Criminology.

What both studies also suggest is that the role of religion should be considered as communities address issues of violent crime.

Communities lose out when they marginalize or trivialize the potential pro-social influences of religion, Jang says.

“And one of the areas where society suffers is in crime,” he says

A long time ago, when I was just getting started with blogging, I wrote a series of posts that explained the minimal requirements for a robust moral system.

These were:

1) Objective moral values

There needs to be a way to distinguish what is good from what is bad. For example, the moral standard might specify that being kind to children is good, but torturing them for fun is bad. If the standard is purely subjective, then people could believe anything and each person would be justified in doing right in their own eyes. Even a “social contract” is just based on people’s opinions. So we need a standard that applies regardless of what people’s individual and collective opinions are.

2) Objective moral duties

Moral duties (moral obligations) refer to the actions that are obligatory based on the moral values defined in 1). Suppose we spot you 1) as an atheist. Why are you obligated to do the good thing, rather than the bad thing? To whom is this obligation owed? Why is rational for you to limit your actions based upon this obligation when it is against your self-interest? Why let other people’s expectations decide what is good for you, especially if you can avoid the consequences of their disapproval?

3) Moral accountability

Suppose we spot you 1) and 2) as an atheist. What difference does it make to you if you just go ahead and disregard your moral obligations to whomever? Is there any reward or punishment for your choice to do right or do wrong? What’s in it for you?

4) Free will

In order for agents to make free moral choices, they must be able to act or abstain from acting by exercising their free will. If there is no free will, then moral choices are impossible. If there are no moral choices, then no one can be held responsible for anything they do. If there is no moral responsibility, then there can be no praise and blame. But then it becomes impossible to praise any action as good or evil.

5) Ultimate significance

Finally, beyond the concept of reward and punishment in 3), we can also ask the question “what does it matter?”. Suppose you do live a good life and you get a reward: 1000 chocolate sundaes. And when you’ve finished eating them, you die for real and that’s the end. In other words, the reward is satisfying, but not really meaningful, ultimately. It’s hard to see how moral actions can be meaningful, ultimately, unless their consequences last on into the future.

I argued in other posts in that series that atheism does not ground any of those factors, but Christian theism (and Judaic theism) ground them all. Atheists aren’t going to be able to behave morally in the face of temptation when doing the right thing (assuming there is such a thing on their view) involves risk or self-sacrifice. Doing the right thing when it goes against your self-interest makes no sense on atheism – it’s not rational. And the studies above lend empirical support to that claim.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about parents and schools

This is a must-listen, especially for any single Christian woman who would like to get married and have children. If you want to marry a Christian man, you should listen to this lecture and also the Dr. Morse lecture on marriage Every Day. Christian men expect Christian women to know a lot about marriage. About why children need mothers, and why they need fathers, and how the state is always taxing families and then using that money to poke their noses in and teach the children all kinds of bad things.

With that introduction, here is the MP3 file on education policy.

Note: public schools = government-run schools.

Topics:

  • Does God care whether we people marry and have children?
  • Does God care whether Christian parents raise their children to know him?
  • Should government promote bearing children?
  • What are some effects of declining birth rates in other countries?
  • What are the economic effects of declining birth rates?
  • Who has the right to decide how children are trained: government or parents?
  • What does the Bible say about parents having to raise children to know him?
  • Does the government have the responsibility for training children?
  • What do educational bureaucrats think of parents training children?
  • What do school boards think of parents training children?
  • Should school boards be elected by local, state or federal government?
  • Should Christians be opposed to government-run education? (public schools)
  • How should schools be viewed by parents? As a replacement or as a helper?
  • How are schools viewed by those on the left and in communist countries?
  • How can you measure how supporting a government is of parental rights?
  • How is parental authority viewed in left-wing EU countries like Germany?
  • How is parental authority respected in the United States?
  • Should parents have a choice of where their children go to school?
  • What is a voucher program? How is it related to parental autonomy?
  • How does competition (school choice) in education serve parental needs?
  • Why do public school teachers, unions and educrats oppose competitition?
  • How well do public schools do in educating children to achieve?
  • Does the government-run monopoly of public schools produce results?
  • Does paying more and more money to public schools make them perform?
  • How do teacher unions feel about having to compete in a voucher system?
  • Does the public school monopoly penalize the poorest students?
  • Does the public school monopoly penalize children of certain races?
  • Does the public school monopoly cause racial predujice?
  • What else should parents demand on education policy?
  • Is it good for parents when schools refuse to fire underperforming teachers?

This podcast is just amazing! This is what we need to be teaching in church. Church should be the place where you go to learn and reflect about how to tailor your life plan based on what the Bible says. And I think that this whole notion of free market – of choice and competition benefiting the consumer (parents) – applies to everything that government does, especially education and health care.

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