Lion of the Blogosphere

Who gets to graduate?

Here’s my take on the NY Times Magazine article.

Colleges really don’t accept anyone who isn’t intellectually capable of graduating. However, this doesn’t mean that’s it’s easy for all students to graduate.

SAT scores really are very good indicators of IQ and of the ability to do well in college. So when there’s a student whose SAT score is well below the average for the school, for that student college is going to be a lot more difficult. For students with higher SAT scores, college is a choice between drifting along and not doing much work and still passing all of the classes, or putting in more effort and getting As. But for students with SAT scores well below the average (as is the case for affirmative action admits), the choice is between failing out, or working hard and passing but with only mediocre grades. Which of course is quite dispiriting, to put in a lot of work and still fall short of other students.

The major problem is that incoming students with low SAT scores are not warned of this situation. It would benefit them very much if someone explained to them:

You may think you are smart because you got high grades in high school, but the reality is that you’re not really as smart as you think you are; you just went to a high school where everyone was stupid so you just seem smart in comparison.

Compared to the much smarter students who normally attend our college, you’re going to find yourself at the bottom of the class. While the smarter students find passing their classes to be relatively easy, and even fun, that’s not going to be the case for you. For you, college will be hard work, difficult and unpleasant, if you want to graduate.

You have the ability to graduate if you put in the effort, and take advantage of the extra tutoring services we have available for you, but college will not be a fun experience for you. I still recommend that you attend our college, but if you think that you’re not willing to work very hard, to study while the smarter kids are having fun at beer parties, then you would be better off not attending our college.

Unfortunately, no one ever gets that talk. People think it would be racist or something. A lower SAT score is looked at as an indication of racial discrimination by the College Board and not as an indication of lower ability than the other students.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 19, 2014 at EST pm

Posted in Biology, Education

94 Responses

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  1. What’s interesting is that the article points to a difference even considering an SAT score range. Though it does also point to SAT later in the article.

    trumwill

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  2. Agreed. Excellent, well-written, and succinct post!

    E. Rekshun

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  3. I don’t see why an affirmative action admit would want to go to a flagship state school. Those schools grade a lot harder than Ivy League schools, have bigger classes, etc.

    For someone with below average SAT scores, UT Austin and schools like that are the wrong answer. I’d aim for a small, prestigious private school (Reed College, Franklin & Marshall or something like that). If that didn’t work, I’d go to a state slacker school if I got a free ride there.

    Dave Pinsen

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • Wait, the state school curriculum is harder than that of the Ivy League?

      Why isn’t anybody bragging about it?

      JS

      May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • That doesn’t hold true for all curricula, and for the curricula that it does hold true for it’s not true through all state schools. However, it will hold true for many first tier state schools. To illustrate using an informal proxy, according the the lumosity statistics (I know its not an IQ test but the normative data should act as a relative measure nonetheless), State College in PA has one of the highest concentrations of higher IQ individuals in the nation. Ithaca, the home of what many people consider to be a marginal Ivy, is the only Ivy town that comes close.

        It’s plain naive to assume that everything at a University that is in a specific inter-athletic league will be better than all or even most other Universities. There exists copious competition from well-moneyed state schools that draw a lot of hyper-intelligent individuals. Based on the numbers alone, it would be difficult to imagine that Ivy’s could stay objectively superior in most subjects. Getting into any Ivy isn’t exactly purely meritocratic over a relatively large contingent of any one class. State school admission tends to be such to a greater degree. Most first tier state schools don’t have the luxury of using anything but numbers for admission decisions. This should, and seems to, lead to a more reliably superior top-contingent of students around who the curricula tends to shape over time. Additionally, state schools are likely less influenced by both funding constraints as well as the politics that drives them. State funding of top state schools is likely a much better source of funding than endowment and tuition from political, volume, and stability perspectives (state funding can often be more flexible). Thus, their curricula are likely less affected by non-academic forces.

        Ivy’s are difficult to get into but easier to stay in. This is well known to alumni from what I’ve been told. Ivy’s are attended for the reputation and connections. There are good individual departments that are at the top in their respective fields in the nation (check out Harvard’s business curriculum for an example of something that looks every bit as if it deserves to be amongst the top 5 in the country), but you wouldn’t go to an Ivy and just assume that whatever you take will be the most rigorous or highest quality in the nation in any specific discipline.

        Frank

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • *Ivies

        Frank

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • All of the people whom I’ve encountered from the states schools had prole aspirations. Their goal was to major in a vocational subject that “pays off” at the end.

        The irony to all of this is that a significant number of state schools have very good faculty members in the Humanities departments and their university presses publish very good titles on anything dealing with the liberal arts, compared to the Ivies and Tier 1 private schools where de facto – legacy status and politics allows them to get away with subpar faculty members and publishing material that pass off as “prestigious”.

        This being said, I already elaborated that the Ivies have lost their intellectual value because a large number of their smart graduates go into Wall St and elite consulting, ultimately destroying their reputation as centers of freethinking, instead of conformity and anti-intellectualism. This downgrade of the Ivies’ purpose – which is to groom the individual with refined and genteel behavior is now lost. It’s sole purpose is to turn their students who are not too different from proles, into arrogant and money vis-a-vis status worship automatons. This downfall of the Ivies is very much akin to that of City Universities here in the Big Apple, which formerly had a strong intellectual tradition and a top notch stem curriculum, which is now lost thanks to the destructiveness of liberalism, where undeserving NAMs are admitted to fill an affirmation action quota.

        JS

        May 22, 2014 at EST am

    • The affirmative action is not free tuition but that the student was automatically admitted to every state university. What the black student failed to realize is that nursing jobs are not dependent on where one went to school. Entry level nursing pays the same for all nurses.

      Also, why was a freshman taking a statistics class?

      superdestroyer

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • Why wouldn’t a freshman be taking a stats class?

        Renault

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • There are a lot of things black students fail to realize not only b/c of native intelligence but also because there is an absence of transmitted inter-generational wisdom.

        When I was in NYC last winter I had the occasion to eat at a restaurant that was patronized almost entirely by Jews (all the men but me were wearing Yarmulkes). I was fascinated because the conversation at each and every table (that I could overhear) involved the nuts and bolts of business. My white gentile middle class upbringing didn’t expose me to any of this until I had the good fortune to attend a prep academy and I was exposed to business acumen through friends who learned it from their parents. My father, an engineer, helped me some with math (the family was math oriented) but nothing when it came to business. I came away from that restaurant envying the cultural privilege of being Jewish in NYC among business savvy co-religionists. The blacks I know don’t even get the benefit of math know-how.

        Curle

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • Stats is usually not an entry level math class. Usually one has already had to take college algebra or calculus before taking stats.

        superdestroyer

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • “There are a lot of things black students fail to realize not only b/c of native intelligence but also because there is an absence of transmitted inter-generational wisdom.”

        Inter-generational wisdom transference is a primary and crucial political benefit of racially oriented right wing communities. It’s the very mechanism of power-building. It isn’t only blacks who lack this benefit. However, it is a core and obvious reason why blacks should reject leftist politics. The fact that they don’t see this in any significant number causes me to lose respect for them.

        Frank

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • When I was in NYC last winter I had the occasion to eat at a restaurant that was patronized almost entirely by Jews (all the men but me were wearing Yarmulkes). I was fascinated because the conversation at each and every table (that I could overhear) involved the nuts and bolts of business.

        Lion and I would say you went into a prole restaurant. Where was this? 2nd Avenue Deli or some obscure Glatt Kosher place that the average person doesn’t patronize!

        Religious Jews in NYC are overrepresented in lower prestige occupations such as Guido Law and small practice – CPA firms, that the average SWPL gentile or non-religious Jew in BIGLAW and Wall St could care less about. They also own retail shops that reeks proledom and ostentatiousness, such as the Diamond District and shops that sells gaudy apparel.

        JS

        May 22, 2014 at EST pm

    • Or just go to an HBCU and not compete against White students at all.

      E. Rekshun

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • ^ and have your pick of any job at any corporation or government agency – they line up to hire HBCU grads.

        E. Rekshun

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • reed has much higher mean sats than ut.

      jorge videla

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

  4. It’s amazing how predictive test scores are of grades at a particular institution. As a 1L, admitted with a score about 50 points below my school’s median, I once found in the stacks a ten-year study of LSAT scores and grades. That study almost perfectly predicted my ultimate class standing.

    explainer21

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • 50 points, what??? LSAT scores have (approximately) a mean of 151, sd of 10.

      anon

      May 19, 2014 at EST pm

      • You’ve never heard of the 800 scale?

        explainer21

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Big Law not secure?

      uatu

      May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  5. This talk would be a great idea. Some problems would be:
    1) “This doesn’t apply to me. I’m smart. I’m just not a good test taker.”
    2) “I’ve never had much problem in school before. I’m one of the smart kids.”
    3) “The SAT is racist”
    4) People sometimes overestimate how hard they can work over the long haul.
    5) As the Lion had pointed out, IQ doesn’t help that much without a degree, so marginal students really are better off going for it.

    BehindTheLines

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • “This talk would be a great idea. Some problems would be:”

      Well also you can bet that DWLs (disingenuous white liberals) would insist that poor grades are caused by the warning itself as opposed to lower cognitive ability.

      sabril

      May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  6. Why not to normalize all grades based on SAT for every student? This way everyone would be challenged to maximize the outcome.

    MyTwoCents

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • lmao

      shiva1008

      May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  7. There’s also the problem of bachelor degrees taking much too long to complete for those who should be in college.

    Law degrees should be an undergraduate major. Fluff BAs women* gravitate towards like psychology and education should take at most 18 months to complete. Moderately hard courses (accounting, engineering) should be mastered by intelligent students in 3 years like British students.

    Only the hardest subjects (surgery, advanced mathematics, theoretical physics) should require longer than 3 years of undergrad and graduate study.

    * A nice bonus of shortening how long it takes to earn a Mrs degree is that women will have children earlier in their fertility cycle if they can teach in their late 20s instead of earning a grad degree in ‘child development’.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • I completely agree. There is no reason why every single undergraduate degree should take four years.

      BehindTheLines

      May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • I say Accounting should be a 2 year program. Better yet, Accounting belongs in a trade school as an apprentice program; learn it while you work.

      JS

      May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • The same goes for Law; the average law associate is a glorified paralegal who engages in mind numbing research and case writing.

        JS

        May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • We have accountants in the army in upper management with four year degrees and they know less about the work than people with no degrees who have just been working there for twenty years. There’s an idea now that education is just something that happens in a classroom and you learn nothing outside school. That idea just benefits the professors and administrators that staff the schools and the kids who are willing to jump through all the hoops to get a degree. It also benefits brainless human resources people in large bureaucratic organizations because they can just hire the person with the degree and don’t have to use any judgment on who might actually be the best employee.

        Mark

        May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • Law was traditionally a two year program. It was expanded to three in order to control entrants to the market. Too many people were becoming lawyers. This was seen as a solution. Didn’t work.

        Curle

        May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • you’re right map.

        ideally there would be standardized national exams and schools would exist only for laboratory instruction.

        formal education is a parasite. professors, staff, administrators are criminals.

        the growth in the education sector is like the growth in the hospitality sector and professional services sector.

        that is, when all the real work is done by 20% of the labor force more and more make ends meet by stealing legally.

        jorge videla

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Engineering is arguably as “hard” as the subjects you believe require four years. Medical school could be shortened to three years as well. In many countries, one can go to medical school immediately after high school, the basic sciences covered in an additional medical school year (five or six years total instead of eight with having to go to an undergraduate college, taking meaningless liberal arts courses in addition to the basic science courses required by the medical school).

      The first two years of engineering school is largely made up of the basic sciences. These are the same theoretical and applied physics, mathematics, chemistry, thermodynamics, economics, etc. that would also be part of a good hard science curriculum. When I was in school we had theoretical particle physics, physical and theoretical chemistry, statistical and quantum mechanics, abstract algebra, and many other theoretical subjects – the same rigor as those majoring in those subjects (of course, a theoretical physicist would have a preponderance of theoretical physics courses, etc. whereas engineers had the foundation courses). In addition, most engineering schools today have a design component in all, or most semesters whereas in the past when I was in school the capstone design courses were left to the fourth year. Most US engineering schools require between 128-148 semester hours, which is too much for only three years (there were a few geniuses in my school who graduated in three years having taken courses during the summer and the intersessions, but that’s rare).

      Some schools offer a co-op program, in which one works in a professional engineering internship for one year (distributed over the course of their stay in the engineering school). That requires five years due to the work component.

      Michael

      May 20, 2014 at EST am

    • Medical school in the US includes clerkships – hard to shorten it without reducing that practical experience part.

      Dave Pinsen

      May 20, 2014 at EST am

    • women will have children earlier in their fertility cycle if they can teach in their late 20s instead of earning a grad degree in ‘child development’.

      But these younger female teachers might lack the maturity to refrain from having sex w/ the young teenage studs in their classes.

      E. Rekshun

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Most US engineering schools require between 128-148 semester hours, which is too much for only three years (there were a few geniuses in my school who graduated in three years having taken

      30-60 of those credit hours are general education classes which are just a rehash of high school material. Cut those out and 3 year engineering degrees (80-110 credits) is feasible.

      Under a sane higher ed system, intelligent students should generally complete their studies within these time ranges:

      “Mrs. ” Degrees – at most 18 months (they really should be in finishing school)
      Accounting – 3 years
      Quantitative Finance (not ordinary finance) – 3 years
      Engineering – 3 years
      Computers – 3 years
      Business classes other than Accounting or Quantitative Finance – 2 years
      Medical training – greater than 4 years
      Theoretical science and math – greater than 4 years

      As Dave Pinsen points out, because of the need for hands on training it’s hard to cut Med school’s time investment other than through junking general ed requirements.

      For moderately difficult (and for now, sadly, hypothetical) three year majors, I’m reluctant to reduce them to two years as suggested by JS. An extra year of introductory material would be advisable for qualified students who:

      * Are smart but weren’t challenged in high school.
      * Ones right on the edge of the intelligence threshold needed to pass.

      Both types of students would be well advised to take extra time and space out their classes in order to give them a fair chance.

      Of course, if someone has already taken, say, accounting or advanced science classes in high school, or if they’re just flat out brilliant, I’m all for letting them test out of the intermediate courses in an attempt to get them a degree in 2 years. But on average, 3 years would be both the average as well as the preferable amount of time.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • The “General Education” courses in engineering school aren’t repeats of high school. They consist of the fundamental and advanced mathematics and sciences, most of which are calculus-based application as well as theory. This is usually the first two years. The engineering specific courses are the final two years, and as I say many schools now introduce the engineering design work from the first semester. Don’t confuse “general education” in liberal-arts based schools with that of engineering.

        Michael

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • You cannot “cut out” what you call “general education” in engineering. The core curriculum of basic and advanced sciences is not something you get in high school. Most high school students for example do not take calculus and calculus-based physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electronic circuits/physical electronics, statics, dynamics, et al – which are the “general education” in engineering. If you think that the science given in most high schools is the equivalent of this you are incorrect. You must have the fundamental base of science before you can study engineering. How would you, for example, solve for the shear and moment of the beams in a structure composed of trusses (which requires solving second order differential equations) if you never took calculus and differential equations (the “general education” in this case) as you propose? The course on structural analysis cannot spend time teaching one differential equations – it is assumed you had the mathematical prerequisites before you take the course. Engineering typically are “lock step” programs in that the courses have specific prerequisites and must be taken in a specific order. By the way, contrast that with many college students who don’t know what they want to take, what they want to do, and waste time in college “finding themselves”. Engineering (and hard science) students know what they want and are focused.

        Michael

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • You cannot “cut out” what you call “general education” in engineering. The core curriculum of basic and advanced sciences is not something you get in high school. Most high school students for example do not take calculus and calculus-based physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electronic circuits/physical electronics, statics, dynamics, et al – which are the “general education” in engineering.

        Those are all intermediate to advanced engineering classes and are certainly not was meant when I referred to general education.

        Gen ed = 101 freshman and sophomore courses. English 101, History, Government, Theater, and so forth. All of them are liberal arts classes that should have been mastered in high school by anyone smart enough to be on a challenging education track.

        These rehashes of high school material are at least 30 of the 120-140 credits needed to earn a bachelors engineering degree. Of course lib arts majors only have to deal with a few intro science courses and perhaps one very watered down Calc course.

        And I’m not sure there isn’t some science class fat that could be cut from engineering curriculums. Do mechanical engineers really need a Bio class?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • Undiscovered, yes I agree with you, English 101, theatre, languages, and those other courses you mentioned as high school should not be rehashed in college. Most engineering school do not rehash nor require those courses. In my school, and most others, the courses I named (which you referred to as “advanced”) are the “general education” in engineering. We didn’t have “English 101” or “History 101” courses. We did have required humanities courses each semester but those courses were actual college level courses that required critical thinking, analysis, reading, and significant amounts of writing.

        Michael

        May 22, 2014 at EST am

      • My school also did NOT offer a BA degree, which to me was a big advantage- no low level liberal arts rehash courses. The Humanities department gave high level, rigorous liberal arts courses in specific areas to the engineers, scientists , and management majors. They believed that technical people should have a well rounded, “liberal technical” education, despite the incorrect idea of some liberal arts types that technical people can’t be literate.

        Michael

        May 22, 2014 at EST am

      • The Humanities department gave high level, rigorous liberal arts courses in specific areas to the engineers, scientists , and management majors.

        I’m afraid even were humanities courses conservative and rigorous it’s still a waste of time and money for non-liberal arts majors. You can read as many great works as you like without sitting in a lecture hall. If you and your classmates could have bypassed them you would’ve graduated 1 to 2 years earlier, saved tuition and entered the workforce earlier.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2014 at EST pm

      • The Humanities courses were one per semester, 3 credits each. We averaged 19 credits a semester, so eliminating them may have cut off one semester at most. In engineering, since the “first professional” degree is a undergraduate degree, it is necessary to have the liberal arts courses in the program to have a well-rounded education. I agree that one should be broadly educated in addition to being trained in a profession.

        Michael

        May 23, 2014 at EST pm

  8. I disagree with the thrust of Lion’s post, but specifically because I think he’s overlooking a huge caveat in play in determining college grades and success: writing ability..
    His point makes a lot of sense in theory but what qualifies much of it is: what degrees do particular students go for? I mean, a student who lacks a lot of core STEM h.s. coursework can go to a good school, take a, say, comparative-lit major, and wind up with a solid 3.0-to-4.0 GPA and come out smelling like a rose —– but of course that can also be viewed as a huge end-around in obtaining universally commendable grade achievement.
    My point being, is that such a route along with many others are often in play among those who present their stellar college records for others to evaluate. My own track record exemplifies this point; I was a j-major with a heavy lit background in both my undergrad studies and my humanities M.A. And while I’ll stand by my achievements FWIW, I’m not really comparable to the med student and to some degree even law -student grads who went to my grad school. I might’ve been, but the point is, the comp-level wasn’t even close from the get-go —— e..g, the app and essay-entrance process —— so, while my SAT levels as a undergrad (no GRE-required for my particular M.A., as this was during the heart of the academic-egalitarian ’90s), were pretty respectable, both it and my overall ending GPA isn’t really indicative of my ‘college success’ if placed beside all the M.D.’s and J.D.’s that coincided with my graduation.

    nikcrit

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • Do a lot of schools have no general ed requirements? I waited 10 years to tackle my math problems before I want back to school, because without math you can’t do science. Only to find out they had been dropped in the 70s at state U and then slowly brought back. I could have skated through in 1977 but not 1987. As it was I ended up taking quite a bit of math and computer science, didn’t kill me.

      Then I found out elite schools like Brown don’t even bother with that shit and haven’t for decades. People graduate without having to take any math or science at all. Is this how it is a the Ivies?

      caroljm36

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • the gen ed requirement is another example of “american exceptionalism”. read: “american shittiness”.

        jorge videla

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • Yes, it’s unfortunate that one can graduate from “prestigious” school such as Ivy Leagues without having taken any real math or science courses. Aren’t those also part of “liberal arts”? And these are the types that the Wall St. investment banks think will help them make a billion dollars on a stock deal? I would hire the engineer, physics, math, quantitative finance, or science Ph.D. even from non-Ivy League before I would hire the former.

        Michael

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

    • i avoided classes with term papers. it’s possible at a state school. i tested out of the writing classes. but i scored at the sixth percentile on the gmat analytic writing. (99th percentile on the verbal section.)

      jorge videla

      May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • It’s not possible to avoid papers in graduate school at a state school, unless you are pursuing a degree that isn’t science. Tests are emphasized in undergrad, and papers and projects are emphasized in graduate school. Undergraduate was more difficult in a science program (up to 5 tests per semester) but I learned more through the project/paper emphasis. In my opinion, you’ll never learn anything to any useful, significant depth unless you competently write a paper on it.

        Frank

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

  9. regarding IQ, quality of school, etc….

    my dad attended a university high, so it wasn’t really comparable to other public hss, but his experience in the mid 60s at harvard was that the private school students did better in the humanities and the public school students in science and math.

    perhaps this was because to get into harvard from a public school one had to be smarter.

    jorge videla

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  10. My SAT and GPA are the greatest things I’ve ever accomplished. It’s been pretty much a nonstop shitshow since then 🙂

    shiva1008

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

  11. OT: WSJ piece about how TOOS families educate and assimilate the riff raff who marry in.

    http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304908304579565800831327122?mg=reno64-wsj

    mick

    May 19, 2014 at EST pm

    • H&R Block is a sh*tty – prole company based out in a flyover prole town.

      JS

      May 20, 2014 at EST am

      • Overcharging proles for lousy tax “advice” is what they do.

      • SWPLs go to H&R Block as well. A Wall St guy had his tax return botched up by an African name – Kwayme Nobonbo. Doesn’t sound like a person whom you would want to bring your taxes to get prepared.

        JS

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • I lived in downtown KC for a couple of years and used to pass by H&R Block headquarters every day. From what I remember, though, HR Block has been pretty profitable year after year. I don’t think the company or the city are prole. The company is certainly not “high-tech;” and the city, at 30% black, has high crime and abysmal public schools. On the other hand, Overland Park, KS, bordering KC, MO is one of the wealthiest communities in the country and is the headquarters for Sprint.

        E. Rekshun

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • H&R Block employs mostly proles and also a lot of NAMs. So it’s a prole company at best.

        Savvy Tax Accountants don’t work for H&R Block, and neither do smart students in Accounting.

        I can’t imagine KC to be on the same level of prestige as dysfunctional Chicago or Minneapolis-St Paul. It’s more similar to one of those lesser flyover cities, 2nd tier such as Bloomington. I wouldn’t consider it a St Louis, Cincinnati or Cleveland, not that low.

        JS

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • McDonalds is also a profitable company, and so is Walmart. As long as proles and NAMs patronize sub-par companies with subpar services and goods, they will always be profitable.

        JS

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • McDonalds is a franchise; but once you get out of NYC, most of the franchises are run pretty efficiently. And the french fries are always tasty.

      • yeah. you have to be dumb, lazy, or super rich for your taxes to be too complicated for you.

        but still they are too complicated for individuals and a fortiori for corporations.

        but a sophist might argue that all the wasted labor of accountants and tax lawyers is worth it to maximize something else.

        at the local commuter school ALL of the graduate accounting courses are in taxes. there’s just so much money in it my guess is cpas do taxes more often than audits.

        jorge videla

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • there’s just so much money in it my guess is cpas do taxes more often than audits.

        Not only that, it’s relatively stress free when comparing to other high paying fields. More importantly, I have so much lapses of free time while I’m working, where I can sip champagne and spam this site as often as possible. Of course, I don’t have the status of the Wall St and BIGLAW crowd, but I can make as much with significantly less effort.

        JS

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

  12. Good news, now it’s just a matter of time before the trans-fat ban is lifted in NYC! Right?

    Saturated fat does not cause heart disease via the market ticker…

    guest

    May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • I think that trans fat is not the same thing as saturated fat?

      • In English, Lion, trans-fats are generally what occur when hydrogenated fat is manufactured. Hydrogenated fat is unsaturated fat that is turned into saturated fat with the addition of nickel, from what I understand. The difference between saturated and unsaturated fat is the number of hydrogen bonds, thus the term ‘hydrogenated’. Saturated fats are necessary for baking, but tend to be expensive (lard, milkfats). So, to cut costs, food manufacturers took to using synthetic saturated fats (hydrogenated fat) that, as it turns out, have a different affect on the body than natural saturated fat. Banning trans fats means banning hydrogenated fats.

        Frank

        May 22, 2014 at EST am

    • trans fats aren’t saturated fats (fats without any double bonds). the “trans” is a term from organic chemistry. the “cis” double bond can be converted to a trans under the conditions of hydrogenation. hence “partially hydrogenated” means “contains trans fat”.

      trans fats are rare in nature. they do occur in very small quantity in milk fat however.

      the harm of trans fat is another example of how fake food is the problem with the american and western diet.

      jorge videla

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Even Atkins thought trans fats should be avoided. However this transfat ban is probably unnecessary since occasional consumption of trans fats is unlikely to cause serious health problems.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 21, 2014 at EST am

  13. As a counterpoint, there *lots* of kids with strong IQs who score in the the 1300s on the SATS who struggle in college. Most kids just don’t have the mental/emotion discipline and focus yet.

    It’s relatively few who know where they want to go, how to get there, and are prepared to do so. That is perhaps the ultimate advantage in college.

    fakeemail

    May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Totally agree. There is too much pressure to send every 18 year old off to college, of whom, the majority, usually have no idea what they want to do. Some graduate and realize they’ve made a huge mistake.

      I am now in the painful process of taking classes in Math after my BA to apply to graduate school. I wish I had double majored, now that after some years of working I know what really interests me.

      Kant

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • Kids would take schools more seriously if America’s education system isn’t so prole, or what we call vocational oriented. The constant drumming to our youths of what do they want to do for a living makes them hesitant of pursuing anything they would love and do well at it.

        Much of the American populace is anti-intellectual, whose sole purpose to consume beyond one’s means or to do it extravagantly, where our educational pursuits revolves around this capitalistic process of hoarding. And only in America, do we find Academics with multiple degrees from our diploma mill.

        JS

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • Hhhhmmm, “taking classes in Math.” What is it that interests you? Please don’t say a career in IT.

        E. Rekshun

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • Center for Immigration Studies, May 20, 2014
        http://cis.org/no-stem-shortage

        While employers argue that there are not enough workers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees, a new analysis of government data by the Center for Immigration Studies finds no evidence that a general shortage of such workers exists…the findings show that the country has more than twice as many people with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs…Among the report’s findings:

        • Total STEM employment in 2012 was 5.3 million workers, but there are 12.1 million STEM degree holders.

        • Real annual wages (adjusted for inflation) grew 0.4 percent a year on average from 2000 to 2012 for STEM workers.

        • Only one-third of native-born Americans with an undergraduate STEM degree who have a job actually work in a STEM occupation.

        • An additional 1.2 million natives with STEM degrees are not working–unemployed or out of the labor force in 2012.

        • In total, 1.6 million immigrants with STEM degrees worked outside of a STEM field and 563,000 were not working in 2012.

        • Despite the economic downturn, between 2007 and 2012, about 700,000 new immigrants with STEM degrees were allowed to settle in the country.

        E. Rekshun

        May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • it’s politicians not employers.

        politicians in the us tend to be liberal arts majors and lawyers. science, math, engineering, computer science are just six and one half dozen to them.

        there are many more natsci degrees than jobs specifically for natsci degree holders. this is less true for engineering, although according to the bls mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering employment is growing more slowly than the population or declining. civil engineering has robust growth according to the bls. one reason may be because most civil engineering can’t be outsourced.

        but even civil engineering may be difficult today.

        jorge videla

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • “Hhhhmmm, “taking classes in Math.” What is it that interests you? Please don’t say a career in IT.”

        God no. At this point I’m taking math classes because they are prereqs for graduate school in Statistics (which I know involves SOME programming but not to the extent of an IT code monkey). Although I enjoy pure math (and find topology fascinating) the opportunities besides adjuncting appear limited (which is to say the same about my original field, philosophy).

        Kant

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • “While employers argue that there are not enough workers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees, a new analysis of government data by the Center for Immigration Studies finds no evidence that a general shortage of such workers exists…the findings show that the country has more than twice as many people with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs…Among the report’s findings:”

        Yeah the STEM shortage is bull. Luckily STEM interests me so job considerations are not the only factor in pursuing it. I’ve read the majority of job growth projected over the next 10 years are in jobs that do not require a college degree. Something has to give in our society…

        Kant

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • “God no. At this point I’m taking math classes because they are prereqs for graduate school in Statistics (which I know involves SOME programming but not to the extent of an IT code monkey). Although I enjoy pure math (and find topology fascinating) the opportunities besides adjuncting appear limited (which is to say the same about my original field, philosophy).”

        Have you considered going into Machine Learning? While topology isn’t used that much today for applied machine learning, it could be important as the theory becomes more advanced.

        Alex

        May 22, 2014 at EST am

    • I scored a 1490 and almost dropped out of undergrad and barely graduated from a very well known school that lion and renault and other posters would call a very prole school.

      Mistake number 1, attending said school instead of higher ranked non-prole schools that I got into but I didn’t think was worth the cash.

      Mistake number 2 – not having any focus or discipline in college until my last semester.

      I would’ve been much better served if i was in germany or switzerland and had to do national service for a couple of years.

      uatu

      May 20, 2014 at EST pm

      • Even better than national service would be the “gap year” that lots of British and Aussie kids do but is almost unknown in America, and that goes double for younger graduates. I wish I could have done one — I graduated HS at 17 (1480 SAT; you got me, Uatu)and was one of the, if not *the*, youngest freshman at my state school. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do until I was a 20-year-old senior and by then I didn’t have enough remaining credits to take some of the electives that I knew I’d get a lot out of.

        Kyo

        May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • uatu,

        you (and i) may be an example of how competition with one’s peers is motivation to perform, and when one has few or no peers even being at the top of the class is meaningless. without high performance really meaning anything there’s much less motivation.

        america’s epitaph must include it’s unique squandering of human capital with “grades”.

        jorge videla

        May 22, 2014 at EST pm

      • and extracurriculars.

        i listened to a former yale professor who said if you didn’t have at least SIX extracurriculars you’d be passed over. ONLY IN AMERICA.

        jorge videla

        May 22, 2014 at EST pm

      • @Kyo: I had just turned 17 when I graduated HS, so I wasn’t even an ‘old 17’ when i started college. I imagine we had similar experiences.

        uatu

        May 24, 2014 at EST am

  14. I also attended a highly selective state university for my undergrad degree. I was very surprised at how many students just could not hack it my freshman year. I think a lot of it is not directly linked to IQ or intelligence. I think it mostly had to do with work attitude.

    For most college freshman it is the first time they are living away from home. Some of the students must have needed their parents nagging them to study and do their homework. At college they just goofed off and flunked out. Some of these were from wealthy families, some from poor.

    There also were what I called over-achievers. Students that were not really that smart, but had been pushed by their parents into working super hard in high school and getting good grades. I’m not sure what their SAT scores were like. These students scraped by with lots of hard work and mostly Cs.

    Interestingly, the smartest student I knew as an undergrad flunked out. He clearly had skated through high school without ever having to try because he was so smart. In college, he could not remember to come to class, could not remember to do homework, and seldom bothered to study. In one class I had with him he flunked the midterm because he had not been coming to class or studying. For the final, he came and spent an hour reading my notes for the semester and he read the textbook. He got 100% on the final. He flunked out when he ran into some professors that did not tolerate late homework, since he never did his homework on time.

    College admission is an intelligence filer, but graduating from college is to a great extent a filter for people who are able to work on their own, without close supervision. There are a significant number of smart people that cannot do that, at least not when they are 18 or 19.

    Oh, and by the way, all of these students were Caucasian. There were some affirmative action admissions, but I did not know any of them.

    mikeca

    May 20, 2014 at EST pm

    • Sounds like your smart friend had ADHD.

      Curle

      May 21, 2014 at EST am

  15. A smart male’s brain is still developing at 18, and may not be fully developed until after age 23. Thus, smart prole males with no significant family support are unlikely to have the full complement of executive and other necessary cognitive skills to reflect their full potential in their grades. Smart male’s who haven’t experienced social/familial (ex: having a plumber dad to rely on for advice and as a social example instead of a physician father) and financial disadvantages, and therefore are generally supported in the early development of more mature cognitive skills and reasoning, will more readily handle University level work.

    However, this article isn’t really about the smart prole male. This meandering, hack article, relying on statistical abuse, is about putting forth a subtle racial complaint that real Universities are too difficult for minorities.

    There are two choices in situations like this. The first choice is to raise the admissions standards so that only the competent get in. This is not a difficult feat. High Schools can be ranked, and a 3.5 at MLK High School will not be worth as much as a 3.0 at Stanford High School. This is how it should be.

    The second choice is to allow a glut of under-prepared, under-performing students in to boost the diversity numbers and, eventually, have unacceptable rates of low grades and drop-outs. The inevitable result will be a lowering of academic standards.

    Frank

    May 20, 2014 at EST pm

  16. Having higher IQ also results in more emotional problems. Higher IQ just means your brains run faster, with all side effects of emotional overdrive. So, sorting out on IQ does not actually guarantee that you get a higher graduation rate. Can you sort out emotional problems? Not really. The peak of those comes at 19 years and does not get back to normal until around 22. Can you delay going to college till that age? Israel actually does that with few years of military service + a year or so of working at the US mall booth selling crap to us. Do they have a better outcome? Not really. The reason is that once you are past 20, learning is more difficult. For optimal result you need to get to college at 16 or 17. Even 19 is too late. Anyway, it is a tradeoff in the end.

    MyTwoCents

    May 21, 2014 at EST am

    • Higher IQ just means your brains run faster…

      Untrue. If it were true, IQ results could be leveled throughout all groups by allowing non-timed intelligence tests.

      IQ is much more complex and varied than clock speed. In fact, many high IQ individuals sometimes process some types of information (e.g.: language) more slowly than lower IQ individuals; however, the information tends to be processed to greater depth. To illustrate, audiological processing disorders do not affect IQ assuming that the person is not deaf (which inhibits cognitive development). Even in the case of a neurotypical high IQ individual, you may have to wait slightly longer for an answer, but the answer will be more insightful than that from a lower IQ individual. Some of that lag isn’t likely to be only problem analysis, but slower analysis of the semantic meaning of the question itself. Think of the lower IQ extrovert who comes up with a snappy response to a situation, and the higher IQ individual who isn’t able to be linguistically dominant but who will read and respond to the situation/question much more astutely. If high IQ always meant faster information processing, then high IQ people would tend toward being more socially dominant. This sometimes occurs, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Although, the lowest IQ people are also not socially dominant. There seems to be a middle ground, probably in the 110-120 range, wherein IQ and processing speed converge to allow for optimal social dominance. All of this being said, there are individual exceptions at all places in the bell curve. You’re likely to see a higher incidence of sociopathy within that exceptional group. But I digress.

      “Emotional overdrive”, ie: emotional neuroticism, can result more often in higher IQ individuals but, in my experience, it isn’t a result of the fact that higher IQ individuals process information more quickly. It’s a result of the emotional dissonance that occurs between the lower depth/functioning social/emotional logic of the lower IQ individual and the more logical (and socially functional) emotional/social logic of the higher IQ individual. Because higher IQ individuals are inherently more logical, they tend to live more in a world of rules than do other people. They perceive and apply those rules in all realms, including the emotional/social, and cannot understand when other people flaunt the logic based rules that seem both obvious and necessary for good relationships. The problem is that almost all others with a significantly lesser IQ will be more beholden to their emotional/need based impulses and therefore less logical and rule oriented. This dissonance leads to a lifetime of perceived emotional sleights, and a resultant high degree of “emotional overdrive” that is a symptom of emotional damage, unless the higher IQ person can learn and adapt to the social behavior of lower IQ persons.

      IQ guarantees a higher graduation rate at Universities wherein higher IQ is necessary to do well. There is a definite IQ floor for many Universities, below which students will have trouble achieving success.

      You’d have to provide evidence that conscripted Israeli’s don’t have a better outcome, but age also isn’t the only factor in doing well. Humans tend to be able to learn anything well into their early thirties (a second language being the cognitive standard), depending on their lifestyle.

      Frank

      May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • A second language learned past early teens guarantees that you would have accent and other verbal handicaps. The same is true about physics, math, or any other field. Except that in other fields that “accent” is strongly felt only by folks that learned those fields much earlier. Learning ability declines with age starting in early childhood. What peaks in early 20s is brain power, which can be loosely defined as multiplication of learning ability and knowledge already processed and retained in memory. One goes down as we age, the other is goes up, until everything breaks down and we die of course.

        MyTwoCents

        May 22, 2014 at EST pm

    • There is some correlation between IQ and hypersensitivity, a psychological trait leading to increased awareness and analysis of your surroundings that is present in less than 1/5th of the population. We don’t know if hypersensitivity is correlated to a superior brain development, or is an independent trait in itself.

      In any event, hypersensitivity tends indeed to lead to the emotional issues described above.

      Thomas

      May 21, 2014 at EST pm

  17. I am in Europe, but my impression is that a lot of the educational problems of the US are based on two aspects: non-selective high school, that is, it is far too easy for the better students to get top grades and they will feel smart and empowered although they mastered very little compared to the level and workload expected in college. And, probably more important, the lack of trade schools, vocational training on the job, but instead everything as a long and expensive college education.
    I am not sure about the numbers, but in Germany about 40-50% of the students leave high school after the 10th grade to enter vocational training (in combination with a trade school). Almost everyone going for a traditional “trade” like carpenter, electrician, plumber etc. will take this route
    Others will get the full high school degree (Abitur) after 12 or 13 years that will allow them to enter university, but they will still go for vocational training/trade school (This usually applies to to lower level white collar jobs like accountants, clerks etc.)

    The Abitur degree has become somewhat relaxed in the last decades, but it still requires far mor than most US high schools: at least two, often three foreign languages for 4-6 years each, basic differential calculus for everyone who wants to pass etc. So it is more like High school + general educational part of college (foreign languages, some taste of advanced math etc.)
    And this is similar in most continental European countries, although the vocational training/trade school system is somewhat of a German (and probably Austrian) speciality.

    nomen nescio

    May 21, 2014 at EST am

    • Germany for example values its engineers and accords them similar social status as physicians get in the United States. That is one large reason why Germany’s economy (at least, in the past) has done very well while the US economy has been stagnant. Perhaps the US can take a lesson from Germany. By the way, an engineering degree in Germany (the “Diplomingenieur” – if I mispelled the title please correct me – which is more or less the equivalent of the first-professional bachelor’s degree in the United States) takes five years.

      Michael

      May 21, 2014 at EST am

      • exactly right mike, and germany has a shortage of engineers, or so i’ve heard. they’ve even imported engineers from mexico.

        the uk is now the poorest english speaking developed country.

        losing a war or two has the advantage that ideology is dropped for practicality.

        however apparently sound the argument for reagan/thatcher economics, it’s an empirical failure.

        jorge videla

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

    • The only real way a tracking system works is if the US has much less income disparity. No one would tolerate a tracking system that tested them into a permanent lower class. Engineers may be given status, but the income distinction between engineers and tradesmen is probably not that large.

      map

      May 21, 2014 at EST pm

      • before redistribution germany is as unequal as the us…believe it or not.

        jorge videla

        May 21, 2014 at EST pm

    • I am in Europe, but my impression is that a lot of the educational problems of the US are based on two aspects: non-selective high school, that is, it is far too easy for the better students to get top grades and they will feel smart and empowered although they mastered very little compared to the level and workload expected in college. And, probably more important, the lack of trade schools, vocational training on the job, but instead everything as a long and expensive college education.

      High school standards are very inconsitent. Some (even select public schools) are rigorous. Non-rigorous high schools often produce entitled smart students who never had to sweat in a class and who then end up flopping in a university setting (despite a good enough IQ).

      At the higher education level, our problem is bachelor degree programs aren’t specialized enough. Usually freshman year and the first sophomore semester are wasted on introductory liberal arts courses. American Intro courses exist to:

      (A) Drag out what should be a 3 year, ~90 credit, specialized education a la Britain/Australia into a 4-6 year ordeal in order to maximize university profits from student loans

      (B) Indoctrinate students in liberal mush and keep psycho leftist professors who don’t have enough students majoring in lib arts to justify their employment without 101 classes.

      We do have a major advantage over Europe when it comes to advanced scientific research because America (for now) rewards private sector-science department partnerships than Europe where cap gains and risk taking is punished. We also fund our science departments better than Europe and have much more rigorous admissions requirements.

      No matter how brilliant Europe’s researchers may be, they still need to have institutions and funding at their disposal to make the most of the breakthrough potential. If Einstein were stranded as a young man on a Pacific island he’d never have contributed anything to mankind.

      European scientists who migrate to America are able to use our science departments to reach their full potential. Germany’s Sebastian Thrun (Stanford professor and specialist in artificial intelligence) and Italy’s Gian Carlo Rota (MIT Math dept) are prominent examples of Euro academics who made it big in America.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 21, 2014 at EST pm

    • …for everyone who wants to pass…

      this is the problem with american education. it has no school leaving exams like europe. the ap exams and the cbats are the closest. in america the quality of your degree in hs and in college is NOT measured by cumulative exams. the consequence is that the american elite (so far as it is mediated by elite education) is pushy, obedient, unreflective, striverish, and stupid compared to that of the rest of the developed world and much of the developing world.

      it happens all the time in the us that students will have high “gpas” but do poorly on cumulative exams. performance on cumulative exams is a measure of ability. american and canadian “grades” are too but not nearly to the same extent. they are also a measure of puchiness, obedience, conformity, etc.

      jorge videla

      May 21, 2014 at EST pm

  18. formal education is a parasite. professors, staff, administrators are criminals.

    the growth in the education sector is like the growth in the hospitality sector and professional services sector.

    that is, when all the real work is done by 20% of the labor force more and more make ends meet by stealing legally.

    Working hard nowadays is for chumps. It doesn’t matter where you work. If it isn’t fun, you’re a slave to the system.

    JS

    May 22, 2014 at EST am


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