Jason Richwine and Goring the Media’s Ox

I first ran into Jason Richwine’s name while writing part one and part two of Teacher Quality Pseudofacts, and I know this because I had to keep referring to the study to get the names right. Was it Weinrich and Biggs? Bigwine and Rich? Bigrich and Wein? Very confusing.

My two-parter was dedicated to the argument that Richwine’s study was complete crap. Richwine and Biggs ignored the well-documented difference between secondary content teachers and elementary school teachers. Then they confused “teachers” with “ed school majors”, when fewer than half of undergraduate education majors become teachers. Finally, the study largely ignored credential data, which would have allowed them to focus on actual teachers—a group with a much higher SAT scores than education majors. And all those objections leave aside the fact that teaching success is, believe it or not, at best marginally linked to teacher intelligence.

So I was familiar with Richwine, and once you’ve memorized the name, it’s hard to miss. I distinctly remember reading his Room for Debate piece, arguing that teachers are getting paid more than their cognitive skills warrant. He wrote much the same thing in the Washington Post, where he got a whole live chat segment (“Many organizations use IQ tests, most notably the U.S. military, to make employment decisions.”) He and his co-authors chastised Arne Duncan in The Huffington Post (and also Education Week) for not understanding that “the wage penalty disappears when teachers and non-teachers are compared using objective measures of cognitive ability”. Then he was arguing in The Atlantic against a teacher bar exam and extensive teacher training because “Smart students on the fence about whether they want to become teachers will likely choose the math and science courses (which have broad labor market value) rather than wasting time on education courses (which have value only if they pursue teaching).”–but then concedes that IQ doesn’t seem to be all that linked to teaching.

And in all this time, no journalist ever wondered “Gee, I wonder if one of the authors of this study focusing on teacher cognitive ability, which we’re giving an avalanche of unquestioning coverage to, has any ideas on IQ we might find really offensive.”

But of course, Richwine’s dissertation was a complete secret. Oh, wait. No, it wasn’t. He wrote an article summarizing his dissertation, “Dealing with Diversity the Smart Way”:

I intend to focus on one such important characteristic—how smart the immigrants are…. IQ, a construct that psychologists use to estimate general intelligence, has been separately linked to elements of social capital…It is time to bring the IQ-social capital link out of the academic journals and into the policy debate. Doing so could help us deal realistically with the problems Putnam has identified.

He wrote this article for AEI, where it was completely ignored. Oh, wait. No, it wasn’t. The NY Times wrote approvingly of the article in its “Idea of the Day” blog:

Now, exploring Putnam’s work in The American, Jason Richwine, who encountered the professor while a student at Harvard, has a suggestion for managing the immigration driving so much diversity: screen to admit smarter immigrants, since evidence suggests higher-I.Q. people are more inclined to “sophisticated ethical thinking, altruism, planning for the future, political awareness, adherence to informal community standards of behavior, and cooperation for the greater good.”

Of course, the Heritage Foundation had no idea that Jason Richwine was interested in IQ. Well, hang on. Richwine wrote a piece for its magazine opposing the diversity lottery visa, clearly referencing his earlier work. It even gets a footnote.

Maybe this was just the first time Richwine came out against Hispanic immigrant success in the mainstream media. Nope, here he is in the Dallas Morning News, “Latino immigrants are not on path to economic parity”:

Though we want to believe Hispanics are on the old European path to economic assimilation, the evidence does not support our desires. This fact becomes more undeniable with each new data set collected and each new analysis performed, but prominent commentators are still seduced by wishful thinking.

Finally, Richwine wrote a much-discussed takedown of Richard Nisbett’s book Intelligence and How to Get It (which I used in my preschool and Philip Dick essay.)

So Jason Richwine’s interest in Hispanics, immigration, and cognitive ability has all been well-documented in major publications since his dissertation, although only Dave Weigel (see below) and Garance Franke-Ruta have pointed this out. Nonetheless, Richwine’s dissertation appears to come as a complete shock to most journalists and policy wonks. (Apparently, the Internet’s memory is a black box they don’t know how to crack.)

But even more strangely, his dissertation seems to have shocked and dumbfounded his dissertation panel. George Borjas has been telling everyone who asks and some who didn’t that he’s got no truck with this IQ nonsense:

“I have never worked on anything even remotely related to IQ, so don’t really know what to think about the relation between IQ, immigration, etc….So I just think that, on the whole, the focus on IQ is a bit misguided.”

Richard Zeckhauser, also on the dissertation committee, told Dave Weigel in the same article:

“In my estimation, our School gives too much emphasis on moving from findings to policy implications in scholarly work…In many cases, merely presenting the facts would be a preferable way to go. That makes it much harder for one’s opponents to dismiss what you say, or to accuse you of manipulating facts to reach policy conclusions…. If one complements one’s empirical assessments with values issues, those assessments get questioned, particularly if one addresses a controversial realm of policy, as Richwine surely did in his dissertation.”

Christopher Jencks, the third man, asked if he had any comment on his approval: The Nation: “Nope. But thanks for asking.”

Okay, I’ve never been to Harvard, nor have I ever gotten a PhD. But surely the dissertation committee actually reads the dissertation?

Weigel doesn’t ask either Borjas or Zeckhauser the obvious followup questions. In fact, he obediently quotes Zeckhauser’s disdain about Richwine’s subsequent work without asking Zeckhauser what problems he had, if any, with the dissertation he signed off on. Nor does he ask Borjas why, if he had no interest in nor understanding of IQ, he was on Richwine’s dissertation committee. But then, Weigel’s weird article has all sorts of oddities for a supposedly reported piece. Richwine’s “friends and advisers saw this coming”, but the advisers make no mention of their prescience in the article and Weigel doesn’t mention a single friend, on or off the record. ?

Speaking of odd, Dylan Matthews, the Wonkblogger credited with the kill, never apparently googled Richwine, because he mentions none of the information above. Presumably someone just sent him the dissertation, although it’s even funnier to think of Matthews “working” his sources at Harvard to dig up information a simple search would have provided, including an article that would have discredited Heritage’s hasty disavowal.

But the more interesting question is why Matthews only now noticed Richwine’s heresy. After all, Matthews has blogged quite a bit about teacher quality, so you’d think he’d have run across Richwine before, and been eager to discredit a racist who obsessed about IQs. But then, Matthews has been notoriously unsympathetic to teacher unions, declaring during the CTU strikes that teacher strikes hurt student achievement, celebrating TFA’s apparently superior performance over traditionally educated teachers, and writing in favor of teacher merit pay. He’s also a big fan of Raj Chetty’s work, which I’ve discussed (and dismissed) here (the Chetty paper seems to create a clear divide between the Wows and the So What’s—here’s Kevin Drum, also on the So What? side).

Meanwhile, Dylan Matthews has been in favor of immigration and amnesty a long time (he was apparently a pre-pubescent blogger), and despite being against open borders as a teenager, he’s all for it, now. He wrote this article boosting Hispanic assimilation, without apparently ever coming across Richwine’s arguments to the contrary.

Hey, if Dave Weigel can make unsupported assertions, I can, too, although I will qualify: it seems that Dylan Matthews went out looking for opposition ammunition to bring down Jason Richwine because his own favorite ox was being gored. Given the gift of the dissertation, he did no further research to find Richwine’s well-documented articles in this area, which is why he allowed Heritage to skate by with a denial that’s close to an outright lie. Matthews paid no attention to Jason Richwine’s open discussion of IQ when it involved teacher quality and merit pay, causes Matthews openly advocates for.

And once he brings up the dissertation, all the other journalists and immigration advocates (these are not, sadly, distinct groups) jump on the news and repeat it avidly, pointing and sputtering, as Steve Sailer says, without doing the tiniest bit of reporting (with the aforementioned exceptions), obediently repeating the canard that Richwine “asserts” that Hispanics have, on average, a lower IQ than whites when it’s a well-established fact, not something he dreamed up as part of his research. Nor has anyone in the media seriously pursued the cognitive dissonance found in the story of “Richwine the racist” writing his “Harvard PHd dissertation on Hispanic inferiority”. I think only a Daily Kos blogger has pursued the obvious point for anyone genuinely outraged about Richwine’s IQ research: If this research is so obviously beyond the pale, if Richwine is “asserting” (rather than repeating established science) that Hispanic IQs are lower on average than white IQs, why on earth is Harvard and its trio of distinguished advisers giving this dissertation writer its approval and a PhD?

So if I were to interpret this pattern of behavior, I’d say that the mainstream media has no interest in pursuing that point. Presumably, the media isn’t interested in bringing down Harvard–hell, these days, most opinion-makers are alumni. They aren’t interested in stopping IQ research. They just want the issue to bring down opposition to immigration reform. Then they’ll go back to “hands off” on IQ, ignoring it completely until they need to bring it up to bring someone down. In this way the Word is maintained, and all those who challenge it can be brought down when the time is ripe.

So Richwine can talk about IQ and mostly white teachers and it’s fine, because many prominent journalists these days are elitists who secretly think our schools would be better off with a more intellectual teaching pool. He can be forgiven for assuming that the media had gotten a lot cooler with cognitive ability, when in fact he wasn’t in any real danger until he took the wrong side of a cause it cared about.

And that lesson resonates tremendously. I just wrote with some pride that more than a few reporters follow my writing. I do not for a moment imagine they agree with me on everything, or even anything, but I’m not important enough to follow for the news value, so surely they must see something worthwhile in my writing? I think? So Jason Richwine’s saga makes me very, very nervous. I maintain at best a loose anonymity; anyone who wants to find out who I am can do so. I am not good at worrying; no matter how many times I say I worry about being outed and fired, I really don’t act like it. But after this, I can all too easily envision being noticed, through some fluke of attention, by the national media, and having someone with too much time and a big, ungainly ox whining over a wound deciding to out me. And then follow headlines like “Ed Real has been writing about race and IQ for a year or more”, probably written, with wholly dispassionate disapproval, by the same reporters who follow me. Worse, maybe, by reporters who don’t follow me but who are tipped off by those who do (“Hey, I can’t use this but here’s some good stuff!”).

If I am cynical, it’s adequate to the occasion. Not enough to stop me writing, though, because I’ve had a genuinely fantastic year as both a writer and a teacher, and that’s too much fun to give up. So take all my professions of concern with some salt.

But there’s one other point worth mentioning, and it’s this: we simply don’t talk enough about the impact of immigration on our schools. Hundreds of schools throughout the nation are 70% or more Hispanic; the majority of the students children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, a substantial number of which are illegal. Dozens of schools throughout the nation are 80% or more Asian, hundreds more top 40%, even though the Asian population nationwide is just 4.8%.

For all the reform and progressive bleats about our failing schools, Asians, Africans, and even Latin Americans see the American education system as a big draw. So they come here in huge numbers, and the communities that absorb them are forced to spend far more on education than they otherwise would. Immigrants often utterly transform a school district; cultural values and language problems are just two of the onslaught of issues that schools are forced to deal with, certain of little support and lots of blame. And while the administrators and teachers let loose to talk about the issues are usually full of happy talk, the original community as a whole is rarely pleased—and if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll always find teachers who are dismayed by the changes.

I don’t have to link these stories in; everyone knows what I’m talking about. The concern and unhappiness is always presented as racist, the immigrants as adorable, hardworking, and confused by societal requirements imposed by a country they mostly came to for money, and the folks who have a job building up services (at taxpayer expense, of course) are the admirable heros, working against the evil prejudices of community to help the newcomers. All the feel-good stories courtesy of the same media that ignored Richwine’s IQ research while it trumpeted his research attacking teacher intelligence, yet turned on him to tear him apart when he argued for limiting Hispanic immigration.

So here we are again, discussing amnesty and still more immigration, and no one’s asking what it will do to our schools. No one is wondering if perhaps we should charge non-citizens, legal or illegal, for a service they so clearly consider valuable, what with the Hispanic obsession about the Dream Act, the Chinese birth tourists and the Korean wild geese. No one is concerned that abysmal teen employment numbers, even more atrocious in areas with high levels of low-skilled immigrants. But everyone will be blaming the schools for failing to educate all students to the same standard, whether it’s possible or not, and for any problems that fall out of the cultural clashes that the policy wonks don’t think of when they talk about the economic benefits of generous immigration policies. (For all Jason Richwine’s concern about low IQ immigrants, he doesn’t seem interested in their impact on American education, and still seems ready to blame teachers for the outcomes. Since I’m on the topic of cognitive dissonance.)

I want to stress this to any of my students, past, present, or future, many of whom are recent immigrants, who might stumble across this blog (along with WHY ARE YOU READING THIS WHEN YOU NEVER DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!) that I don’t see any of them individually as harmful, that I wish the country had resources enough to welcome everyone who wants to come. I don’t blame any immigrants for responding to America’s open door policy. But it’s time to close the door. It’s certainly not time to open the door any wider. And Americans can’t rely on the media to represent their interests, because the media’s already picked the other side.

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23 responses to “Jason Richwine and Goring the Media’s Ox

  • Jay Edwards

    A friend from graduate school just told me his Undergrad advisor had received her PhD from Harvard…seems she asked her advisor if he had read her dissertion and he replied , in a friendly way, that he didn’t have time for such things. It was approved and she received her PhD.
    This would have been 30 odd years ago.

    I doubt any of the signers read the dissertation.

  • J

    Borjas is simply lying about not using IQ in his research. Of the Harvard profs, Jencks’s response was the smartest one, because, despite his leftist credentials, he has a long paper trail with respect to both immigration and IQ, and even his very moderate views are potentially incriminating in the current opinion climate.

    The Richwine case can be most profitably analyzed as a religious phenomenon. The motives of some pundits may have been purely cynical, as you describe, but the fact that no attempt has been made to refute Richwine’s arguments and that the case has ballooned into a national witch-burning event, with comments sections bursting with rage against Richwine, shows that Richwine’s crime was to violate a sacred taboo.

  • Florida resident

    Educationrealist is really a remarkable person !
    Thank you.
    Your F.r.

  • Roundup of the Heresy of Jason Richwine: Guilty of preferring truth to PC | Occam's Razor

    […] Education Realist: “Jason Richwine and Goring the Media’s Ox“ […]

  • soren

    “No one is wondering if perhaps we should charge non-citizens, legal or illegal, for a service they so clearly consider valuable, what with the Hispanic obsession about the Dream Act, the Chinese birth tourists and the Korean wild geese.”

    Texas did wonder about that…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plyler_v._Doe

    The way Plyler v Doe turned every american school into a little Ellis Island is something no one ever talks about. The 5-4 ruling(when combined with other civil rights rulings on things like language access) led to tens of billions of dollars being stolen out of local communities. If that’s what you want, pass a law and fund it. Right now, it’s an unfunded mandate that has to be overturned by the courts or this new immigration bill could grant the states the power to screen applicants at local schools.

    The only strategy I see to deal with Plyler is to take it to the courts by passing state laws that gives illegals access to instate tuition at state campuses but that immigration status must be checked starting in say 5 or so years… and include a severance clause where the whole law is struck down if any part is struck down.

    I honestly think this supreme court would probably overturn Plyler v Doe.

    ” (For all Jason Richwine’s concern about low IQ immigrants, he doesn’t seem interested in their impact on American education, and still seems ready to blame teachers for the outcomes. Since I’m on the topic of cognitive dissonance.)”

    Well, he’s working for people… and there’s no money in picking on kids.

    My pet peeve with regard to public education is that nobody talks about social pathologies. Some people are poison.

    My radical education proposal goes like this.

    1. Radical centralization of teaching.
    2. Radical decentralization of schools.
    3. Complete separation of school and sport.

    MOOCs, tutors, and one room school houses.

    The house I grew up in was my grandfathers school house as a child… and there were like 30 or so of these types of houses built in our rural county in the early 20th century.

    • educationrealist

      I’ve written before that it’s time to challenge Plyler, but here I mean to go further and charge all non-citizens for their public school costs. I think that might even allow us to get around Plyler.

  • anon

    “stopping IQ research”

    I’m confused, You link to Steve Sailer in your sidebar but seem to be saying they need to lynch those Harvard professors? Can’t quite tell where you stand on this. Do you think Richwine’s dissertation was without merit?

    • educationrealist

      Um. What?

      I think only a Daily Kos blogger has pursued the obvious point for anyone genuinely outraged about Richwine’s IQ research: If this research is so obviously beyond the pale, if Richwine is “asserting” (rather than repeating established science) that Hispanic IQs are lower on average than white IQs, why on earth is Harvard and its trio of distinguished advisers giving this dissertation writer its approval and a PhD?

      So if I were to interpret this pattern of behavior, I’d say that the mainstream media has no interest in pursuing that point.

      You perhaps miss the significance of the “if”.

      • Big Nick Digger

        They don’t dare go after Harvard. It would be like McCarthy going after the Army. They worship Harvard. They take their cues from Harvard.They pray their children will get into Harvard. They are not that stupid.

  • TangoMan

    My two-parter was dedicated to the argument that Richwine’s study was complete crap.

    I generally like your topics, your analysis and your conclusions, but I’m going to step up here and disagree with parts of this post and the two posts you wrote earlier.

    Richwine’s study is crap. You certainly set out to make the case but your argument was inadequate in supporting such a conclusion.

    In part 1 you put a lot of emphasis on intelligence variation within the teaching field, specifically between elementary teachers, the generalists, and secondary teachers, the specialists. There is merit to such a distinction but even with this understanding you don’t undermine Richwine and Briggs because the unit of analysis here is teacher, meaning all teachers, of all types, of all specialties, for it is the aggregate that we’re interested in. Secondly there is the issue of weighting. How many algebra teachers, or AP calculus teachers, or physics teachers are there compared to elementary and middle school teachers and when their influence on student outcomes is measured do these specialist teachers pack more punch per hour of instruction time than their generalist counterparts?

    What I see you invoking is the No True Scotsman fallacy, you’re seeking to redefine secondary school specialist teachers apart from all teachers. Again, there certainly is merit to defining the unit of analysis more finely but you’re faulting Richwine for not sharing your concern and instead working with the general category of teacher. In part 1 you observed:

    Elementary/middle school teachers are dragging the average down.

    Yup, they are. So what? Richwine was talking teachers, not secondary teachers, so your criticism here is missing the target. Do you believe that Richwine believes that the math teacher teaching 12th grade students is drawn from the same IQ stratum as the kindergarten teacher? Do you think he is meaning to imply that to readers with only a passing familiarity with the topic? I certainly don’t. Does he write anything which implies or directly states that there is an IQ uniformity which blankets the teaching profession? I haven’t seen that but maybe you have.

    So the sense I get from Part 1 is that you’re arguing that Richwine’s study is crap because he didn’t make the special pleading that you wanted him to make, to separate out specialist teachers and not lump all teachers together. What you wanted him to do, or so it appears to me as a reader of your post, is orthogonal to the point of his analysis which was focused on the teaching profession.

    Those screaming for improved teacher qualifications have nothing in their arsenal when it comes to secondary teachers. I suspect they know that, which is why Richwine, Biggs, and everyone else conflates the scores and ignores Praxis data. But maybe they aren’t lying. Maybe they’re just ignorant.

    That’s an unfair and unsupportable slam. I get that you’re butt-hurt that he didn’t address your pet points and separate out secondary specialist teachers, but as noted the unit of analysis here is teacher.

    Turning to Part 2.

    You write:

    Fewer than half of all education majors (or even intended education) majors become teachers. Can someone tell me why eduformers are always squawking about ed majors’ SAT scores?

    What you leave out is a hugely important qualifier noted in the report:

    Of the approximately 186,000 teachers produced by traditional programs each year, only about 77,000 are hired immediately after graduation.

    We know that approximately a third of all new teachers hired leave the profession within their first 3 years, and 46% leave before their fifth year. The implication here is that other teachers have to be hired to replace them. The open question is whether all such hirings draw ONLY from a pool of candidates populated with newly graduated teachers. If not, then it’s likely that some of the teachers who were not immediately hired upon graduation are hired in the months or years following graduation even after they’ve put time into another career.

    This dynamic ties into a comment you made in Part 1. “I have no opinion about teacher pay….wait, that’s not true. I think teacher pay is about right.” When we observe that there are many qualified applicants for a teaching position that suggests that the wages offered are above the level needed to clear the market. There seems to be something about being a teacher which appeals to people and which is not entirely dependent on pay levels and so some of those graduates who don’t immediately find a teaching position and find their way to other professions likely don’t give up their desire to be teachers and do find their way into the teaching profession.

    You made the above point in order to transition to your argument that Richwine, and other education reformers, should instead focus on the SAT qualifications of ed. students who are hired to be teachers but such a comparison falls victim to a methodological flaw. The comparison done this way would be comparing students who are hired to be teachers against their student counterparts who simply intended to major in other fields. Such a comparison is grossly misleading for the very same dynamic, winnowing out the “weaker” students and graduates, which works to elevate the metrics for hired teachers is not being afforded to engineers who are hired, accountants who are hired, physics graduates who are hired into post-doc positions. Lots of students enter into the study of engineering but fail to graduate and they, presuming that they are weaker students, drag down the metrics for the engineering field of major.

    When a researcher embarks on a comparative study there is a need to standardize the comparisons made. This clearly involves trade-offs. You’re upset about the trade-off here because it works to depress teacher metrics. The only way that I see of using the more specific dataset that you highlight is to abandon comparisons to other professions or to do a lot of digging until one finds comparable data sets for university majors who are hired into their professions and the making the comparison of “students who were hired to be engineers” to “students who are hired to be teachers.” I’ll agree that your criticism provides a way toward developing a deeper understanding but, as with a lot of research, perfection is sometimes hard to attain and perfect need not imply that the good is garbage. The ETS datasets on intended major are good enough for first pass analysis in that all of the intended majors are aggregated together and the very same dynamic that you claim benefits the teaching profession similarly benefits the other professions – weak students intending to major in engineer fall by the wayside meaning that the student who do get hired as engineers are drawn from a brighter subset of the larger category.

    Now with that preamble out of the way :) your analysis of media malfeasance in this post is quite good.

    The reason that I spent so much time on your two earlier posts was because I got the impression that you were trying to set up a pattern showing that Richwine did poor quality research and if that was your intention then I don’t believe that you achieved that goal. You’ve certainly challenged him, you’ve certainly showed how we could develop deeper understanding of the qualities of hired teachers but lose the ability to compare them to hired engineers, hired physicians, etc. but what you didn’t accomplish, in my opinion, is to show that Richwine’s analysis on teachers was crap.

    What escapes me in reading this post is the the connective tissue between your arguments with Richwine and your superb analysis of the dynamics driving the media witch hunt. Are you meaning to imply that Richwine’s dissertation is flawed, that he has a history of doing flawed research and that the media just lucked in with their pointing and sputtering? If so, then I’m not convinced by the argument you’ve made here. I see that you’re firing the arrows and I also see that they’re not hitting the target, well, Richwine as the target that is, for you’re definitely making a good case against the media.

    • educationrealist

      Your comments are in the wrong place. I’ll respond to a few of them.

      I get that you’re butt-hurt that he didn’t address your pet points and separate out secondary specialist teachers, but as noted the unit of analysis here is teacher.

      I’m not “hurt” at all. And this comment, as well as your entire condescending tone, is pretty repugnant. I like to vent in high dudgeon. Don’t confuse that with hurt feelings.

      There is merit to such a distinction but even with this understanding you don’t undermine Richwine and Briggs because the unit of analysis here is teacher, meaning all teachers, of all types, of all specialties, for it is the aggregate that we’re interested in.

      No, it’s really not the aggregate we’re interested in. It’s the aggregate Richwine et all chose in order to advocate their position. If a major testing company puts out a report on teacher cognitive ability every few years, and that report shows constantly reveals major intellectual differences between teacher categories and these teacher categories require different training, different qualification tests, and different credentials, then any researcher who purports to show that all teachers have low cognitive ability for their pay is purely dishonest. Or maybe ignorant.

      The open question is whether all such hirings draw ONLY from a pool of candidates populated with newly graduated teachers. If not, then it’s likely that some of the teachers who were not immediately hired upon graduation are hired in the months or years following graduation even after they’ve put time into another career.

      hahahaha. No. It’s not an open question.

      There’s an onslaught of new teachers every year, as well as a whole slew of experienced teachers looking for new jobs. A newly credentialed teacher who doesn’t get a job straight out of ed school is, with a few exceptions, out of the game.

      But the real story isn’t that all these teachers couldn’t find jobs. Some of them couldn’t, no doubt. Most of them had no intention of becoming teachers and just took an easy major (which the report I quoted clearly mentions as a major factor). Some of them couldn’t pass the credential test.

      you’re seeking to redefine secondary school specialist teachers apart from all teachers

      Wrong again. I don’t have to “seek” anything. They are separate. They have to meet a far higher credentialing standard. They are different majors in both undergrad and graduate school. I don’t have to redefine them. The problem is that Richwine et al conflated them. I don’t know why, perhaps a combination of ignorance and desire to advocate a particular position.

      lose the ability to compare them to hired engineers, hired physicians, etc. .

      No, we wouldn’t. Physicians don’t have the same undergraduate degree. Any profession that has a qualifying test can be compared based on the cognitive abilities of those who pass the qualifying test, be they lawyers, doctors, dentists, whoever. I would venture to say that all comparisons done by major are pointless.

      Do you believe that Richwine believes that the math teacher teaching 12th grade students is drawn from the same IQ stratum as the kindergarten teacher?

      I have no idea what he believes, but that’s clearly, MANIFESTLY what his report presents as reality.

      Do you think he is meaning to imply that to readers with only a passing familiarity with the topic?

      Yes, either because he is foolish enough to believe it or because he’s dishonest. Not only did he try to imply it, but a huge number of reporters repeated that information to the world, both because they have only a passing familiarity and because they, too, think teachers are stupid.

      I certainly don’t.

      I very much doubt that.

      Does he write anything which implies or directly states that there is an IQ uniformity which blankets the teaching profession? I haven’t seen that but maybe you have.

      The entire report implies and directly states it.

      but what you didn’t accomplish, in my opinion, is to show that Richwine’s analysis on teachers was crap

      Those posts, particularly the Pseudofacts II, are among my top posts because of the attention they got from people like Steve Sailer, Razib Khan, Joanne Jacobs, and others who were genuinely interested in the information because until that point, they assumed that Richwine et al were honest brokers who were providing meaningful data about teachers. They realized that the ETS report was far more useful than anything Richwine et al produced, and from that point forward, were no longer sold on the notion that teachers were stupid. That, coupled with their understanding that elementary and sped teachers have a higher percentage of black and Hispanic teachers, thus pulling these SAT averages down further, meant that a whole bunch of opinion makers no longer believe the nonsense that teachers are stupid. And a lot more people, when opining about education, remember to make the distinction between secondary and elementary school teachers. I believe that these essays had a material impact on the discussion by alerting people to reality—the ETS report is beyond dispute—and causing them to rethink what they know about teacher cognitive ability.

      I have no opinion on whether his analysis is crap. I think it’s ignorant, and I successfully convinced a whole lot of people that the teachers who need to be smart are, in fact, smart. Google “teacher sat scores” and my work is third on the list. That’s influence, baby. So I accomplished a lot.

      The reason that I spent so much time on your two earlier posts was because I got the impression that you were trying to set up a pattern showing that Richwine did poor quality research

      You’re wrong.

      The reason that I spent so much time on your two earlier posts was because I got the impression that you were trying to set up a pattern showing that Richwine did poor quality research

      Wrong about that, too.

      The opening establishes that Richwine came to my attention because of a study on teacher cognitive ability that I vehemently disagreed with, that I was then conscious of extensive writing he did in the popular media, and that ‘in all this time, no journalist ever wondered “Gee, I wonder if one of the authors of this study focusing on teacher cognitive ability, which we’re giving an avalanche of unquestioning coverage to, has any ideas on IQ we might find really offensive.”

      Kind of a writerly way of pointing out the extensive evidence Richwine left of his interest in cognitive ability, evidence that the media ignored because they happened to think teachers are stupid, too.

      I then later point out that I valued other Richwine work. The quality of his research, which I am not in any way capable of judging, is not even remotely an issue.

      If you have further comments on teacher quality, put them in the correct post.

      By the way, I do appreciate your kind words lacing through the condescension. I’m just not sure you understood my point, so am not sure how much weight to put on them.

      • MoscowEast

        FWIW ER, you seem to me to be going off on one here. For one, this seems an appropriate place for TangoMan to have made his comments. For another, what I imagine to be his main point, that Richwine’s lumping together of all teachers under a single category, is fine. When carrying out comparisons of pay and conditions between jobs, other professions have many of their multitude of variations lumped together.

        I’m a teacher myself and a relatively new reader of your blog. I’ve never written a blog, but I know if I had a reader who spent as much time composing a comment as TangoMan obviously did I’d be bloody grateful.

        BTW – an earlier commenter queried your consistency. You dismissed his question as if it your position is patently obvious from what you have written. It isn’t, and I do have a PhD.

  • The IQ barrier - Evolving Economics

    […] implementing some of Richwine’s recommendations. (Since I first drafted this post, I see that Ed Realist has pointed out how some of Richwine’s ideas were doing just fine until the storm around the Heritage […]

  • Hattie

    This has me snarling obscenties at my screen (and it’s even kinda related to the post!):

    “Kirk MacDonald, president of PubMatic, has some words of advice for fresh college graduates with a none-too-encouraging title:

    “Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won’t Hire You

    “His advice to young people looking to land their first job in “media, technology, or related fields” can be summed up in three words: learn some programming.

    “Generally, I think this advice makes sense. In fact, I find it odd that in this day and age it’s possible to graduate from high school (much less college) without having written some computer code. Assuming there are still some rigorous secondary educational programs out there — the kind where kids have to learn algebra and geometry and how to diagram sentences — a little basic computer programming would fit in nicely.”

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/168729/

    The original article is even worse:

    “According to one recent report, in the next decade American colleges will mint 40,000 graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, though the U.S. economy is slated to create 120,000 computing jobs that require such degrees. You don’t have to be a math major to do the math: That’s three times as many jobs as we have people qualified to fill them…

    “…I realize that you’ve a lot going on, and that the pressures of finding gainful employment are immense. But understand this, because your future might very well depend on it: If you want to survive in this economy, you’d be well-advised to learn how to speak computer code.”

    I honestly can’t think of a single thing to say to this, other than repeatedly telling everyone involved to go, er, copulate vigourously with themselves. (Do you allow swearing here?)

    But hey, anything to avoid paying American tech workers (why would someone in sales or media need programming?) according to the free market, amirite? And let’s not even consider the bell curve…

  • 2.6 Men Among the Ruins | Radish

    […] ‘Jason Richwine and Goring the Media’s Ox’ (Education Realist) […]

  • Red Pill Theory

    Borjas wrote my econ 480 textbook. Shame that he’s unwilling to defend an alumnus of his university. Of course, I’m sure my professors would be ready to hang Richwine up if it were them, so maybe sniveling cowardice is endemic to academia.

    • educationrealist

      Never mind an alumnus–the guy approved the very dissertation in question! It’s bizarre world, as is the contempt the leftists are dealing phD’s in general (yeah, they just approve anyone these days).

  • budusan

    But surely the dissertation committee actually reads the dissertation?

    Some do. But majority don’t. Too much bother for alreadt very busy people.

  • The Reverse Drinking Game | educationrealist

    […] that it is raising the bar on “teacher quality”, when everyone goes all atwitter about Jason Richwine‘s work on teacher cognitive ability (before he broke the rules on Hispanic cognitive […]

  • The Dark Enlightenment and Duck Dynasty | educationrealist

    […] Only one person asked Harvard’s Christopher Jencks why he blessed Jason Richwine’s doctorate, or why Harvard signed on for it. These people are of the Cathedral and if they challenge the […]

  • 200 Posts | educationrealist

    […] Jason Richwine and Goring the Media’s Ox—I was quite angry that the media allowed him to write about cognitive ability until they could use it against him. Tsk, tsk. On John Quincy Adams and His Photograph Modeling Probability […]

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