Tuesday, November 03, 2015

"Magic Dirt" and Conservative Talk Radio

Local conservative talk-radio people absolutely LOVE talking about 'bad schools.'  This mantra is actually a re-statement of the "magic dirt" theory which is the same theory by which the Left posits that immigrants will suddenly adopt the values and mores of the USA simply by being in the USA:  ergo, "magic dirt."

Derbyshire pens the dissent.

...The core idea is that one’s physical surroundings—the bricks and mortar of the building you’re in, or the actual dirt you are standing on—emit invisible vapors that can change your personality, behavior, and intelligence.

That’s why, for example, you read so much about “bad schools” or “failing schools.” The thing to be explained is that schools whose students are overwhelmingly non-Asian minorities—blacks and mestizos—get much worse results on academic tests than schools whose students are majority white and East Asian. This has been so for decades, defying even extravagantly expensive efforts to change it, like the Kansas City fiasco of the 1990s.

Parsimonious explanation: innate differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality between the races.

Magical explanation: Bad schools! The bricks and mortar of these schools, the asphalt of their playgrounds, are giving out invisible noxious vapors that enstupidate the kids!
...quoted at Vox

Derbyshire's "parsimonious" explanation is reality-based, at least in part.  We have known for decades (see, e.g., Daniel Patrick Moynihan) that family structure (or lack thereof) is the single most significant determinant of academic and social success, and that, in general, "broken homes" produce more criminals and semi-literates than "intact families."

It should be embarrassing for "conservative" talk-radio people to adapt the language of the Left, even for a cause such as "choice schools."  What those radio people should be doing is talking about "dystopic 'families' and children" which is exactly what choice-school parents are fleeing.

But that would be inconvenient, I suppose.

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