Thursday, April 24, 2014

PISA Scores Say American Schools Are Failing, But Are They?

In a blog post by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) they argue American public schools aren't failing, that it is poverty that drags down America's scores.
PISA results have provided ample fodder for public school bashers and doomsayers who further their own philosophies and agendas by painting all public schools as failing. For whatever reason, the pundits, many of whom have had little or no actual exposure to public schools, refuse to paint an accurate picture of the state of education.
A closer look at the data tells a different story. Most notable is the relationship between PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty.  While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.
Here is the data they use to show how aggregation affects America's rankings:
A more accurate assessment of the performance of U.S. students would be obtained by comparing the scores of American schools with comparable poverty rates to those of other countries. 
Schools in the United States with less than a 10% poverty rate had a PISA score of 551.  When compared to the ten countries with similar poverty numbers, that score ranked first.
CountryPoverty RatePISA Score
United States10551
Finland3.4%536
Netherlands9.0%508
Belgium6.7%506
Norway3.6%503
Switzerland6.8%501
France7.3%496
Denmark2.4%495
Czech Republic7.2%478
In the next category (10-24.9%) the U.S. average of 527 placed first out of the ten comparable nations.
CountryPoverty RatePISA Score
United States10%-24.9%527
Canada13.6%524
New Zealand16.3%521
Japan14.3%520
Australia11.6%515
Poland14.5%500
Germany10.9%497
Ireland15.7%496
Hungary13.1%494
United Kingdom16.2%494
Portugal15.6%489
Italy15.7%486
Greece12.4%483
Austria13.3%471


















As we have mentioned before, PISA scores are one of those stats where we see aggregation providing a distorted measures (Simpson's Paradox), so on that one point we find ourselves in agreement with the NASSP.   But, there may be a more accurate predictor than poverty levels.

For example, if one were to break these scores down by ethnicity, which the NASSP has but rarely makes public, you will see the US in the ranked in the top 2 or 3 in every ethnic category. They typically don't release the ethnicity breakdowns out of fear they will be used to allege there is some kind of intellectual superiority with regards to race, an idea KC's own Emanuel Cleaver, who owes over a million dollars in unpaid federal small business loans, says is racist.

The fact is IQ test after IQ test reveal Asians and Jewish people have average IQs higher than Caucasians, Caucasians have average scores higher than Hispanics and Hispanics have higher average scores higher than blacks. It's not a rule, many factors could be coming into play, it is just the reality of what testing scores. It might be interesting to see those scores with household income taken into account, but again that's not data they seem willing to provide publicly.

Many have alleged these scoring discrepancies are a result of tests favoring one ethnicity over another, so-called disparate impact... Maybe, I don't pretend to know why, only that the anomaly exists.

As a result, when you compare the US's PISA scores by ethnicity to mostly homogeneous countries like China, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and others you get the impression we are being out performed. But when you break through those scores and compare PISA scores on like ethnicities you find the US rising to the top in almost every category.

The NASSP uses the poverty rate to make a similar claim as we have, they just are doing so by avoiding the race issue and to defend the performance of most public schools.  But, as you can imagine most individuals attending poverty stricken schools are those living in inner city neighborhoods, which tend to be largely minority.

The funny thing and what runs counter to the NASSP's motivations for pointing out this issue is it is those poor schools that tend to get the most funding per child and not just by a little bit. So why are they failing students? Clearly the amount of money being spent is not the cause of good outcomes and arguing we should be spending more is an exercise in insanity.

We've had some interesting discussions here about analytics with regards to university outcomes. One study that gets thrown around a lot in higher ed is that those who live on campus in resident housing tend to do better than those who don't. So many schools have responded by expanding housing and try to get more students in. But instead, what people are finding is that because housing space is limited on the vast majority of campuses, those who get housing tend to be the motivated go-getters that will naturally do better in school than the procrastinators because, to put it simply, they work harder.

Could the same not be said of families living in low poverty vs high poverty areas? Do schools perform better in low poverty areas because they have more money at home or because they are more motivated to learn, have more parental and family involvement, and and have a more favorable view about their ability to guide their own future?

A Ranch Too Far

Americans are frustrated and fed up with the government's anarcho-tyranny policies and practices.  They are tired of being called domestic terrorists for wanting the government to live by the rule of law, namely within its constitutional bounds.

So how do you discredit that movement?  Give them a government abuse issue to rally around and then discredit that issue by getting the man in the center of it to go on ignorant, racist diatribes.

And with a few simple and despicable words, Cliven Bundy destroys any credibility of civil disobedience over the government's unjust land grabs.

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy said over the weekend, according to the Times. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/rand-paul-dean-heller-cliven-bundy-105982.html#ixzz2zokA0UYl

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

There is No such Thing as Voter Fraud

2014-04-22_1029

There is no such thing as voter fraud, at least that is what the left would have you believe.  But, tell that to the voters of Alabama where a new study has found at least 4 counties where there are more active voters than adult residents.

In Lowndes county there are 8,540 adult residents according 2012 census data.  However, 9,585 ballots were cast in the 2012 presidential race.  You might be wondering who carried that county and if you are suspect Barack Obama you'd be right.  In fact, Obama garnered more than 76% of the vote in the county.

The other 3 counties with more votes cast than voters were Greene, Macon, and Wilcox.  And once again, Obama won all three by huge margins, 85, 85, and 74% respectively.

Election officials are dismissing the study claiming the census data is likely under reporting the number of adults living in the counties.  They allege many people are fearful of talking to census takers.

That's certainly a plausible excuse, but why than did none of the counties with access votes cast break toward Romney?  In the counties with vote discrepancies the margins were dramatically one sided and all towards Obama.

Legitimate voting Alabamans who may have been disenfranchised by this news can breath a sigh of relief.  A new voter ID law will go into affect on June 3rd and the likelihood future elections will be susceptible to fraud will be dramatically reduced.

Flashback: The Disparate Impact of Affirmative Action

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on who has authority to regulate racial quotas in public universies, we thought it might be nice to look back on a piece we did in 2010 on one of the biggest problems with race based enrollment policies.

The Disparate Impact of Affirmative Action

affirmative-action
The KC “red” Star’s Barb Shelly is quick to throw around claims of racism after reading a Princeton University study from 2004 that showed Asian-Americans need to score 50 points higher to gain admission to elite schools than black or white students.
As the mom of a high school senior who keeps an eye on these things, I've been noticing that students of Asian background can have absolutely stellar credentials and still be waitlisted or rejected at selective colleges. 

True, the competition has never been so intense, and the college admissions process will never be completely fair. I support attempts by universities to invite students from a variety of backgrounds to their campuses. But anecdotally, it seems as though Asian kids have to clear a higher barrier than anyone else. 

I checked it out, and the perception is more than anecdotal. A 2004 study by Princeton University researchers established that Asian kids need to score 50 points higher on the SAT than kids of other races to have a chance at getting admitted to the so-called elite universities.
Daniel Golden, who wrote a riveting book about the inequities in college admissions, calls Asian students "the new Jews," referring to unwritten policies before 1950 that set blatantly high bars for even the brightest Jewish applicants. 

The problem, says Golden, is that college admission offices assume that Asian kids are going to be robotically drilled in the maths and sciences and lack creativity and depth. One admissions dean whom Golden interviewed referred to a rejected student from a Korean-American family as "yet another textureless math grind." 

May I say first of all that this country would do well do encourage math grinds. But more pertinently here, what a stereotype. High school counselors and college admissions staffers should look at Asian-American kids as the amazing multitalented young people they are, not math or science drones.
Rather than making some racist illusions that Ms Shelly clearly has no factual evidence to support, perhaps she would be wiser to explore the hypothesis that the reason Asian-Americans have to score 50 points higher than their counterparts is because of the disparate impact of Affirmative Action quotas.

It seems plausible that the cause of Asian-Americans having to score 50 points higher is their inherently high IQ combined with the small number of admissions slots available to them.

"Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa."

Lets say at one of these elite ivy league schools there are 100 slots for new students this year. Of these 100 slots, due to affirmative action quotas, only 5 are available to Asian-Americans.

According to the Asian American Population Estimates report by United States Census Bureau from June 2009, Asian Americans make up approximately 5% of the U.S. population.

With a far superior average intelligence and such a small number of available admissions slots, it stands to reason that Asian-American applicants would need to score significantly higher scores than their white or black counterparts for entrance.

Once again, the social justice policy of judging people based on color, and not content, is resulting in the exact opposite affect of what was intended.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In 2014, There's Only One Issue That Should Matter to Republican Voters

I have to say it feels good to finally see leading conservative talking heads finally getting the point.  We've been warning about these issues since before 2006 and others who were at one-time considered fringe have been doing so even longer.

Today we have to tip our hat to Ann Coulter for once again telling it like it is:
Anyone opposing an incumbent Republican for any reason other than amnesty is a fraud or an idiot. Right now, immigration and Obamacare are the only things that matter. Since every Republican voted against Obamacare, that leaves only immigration.
Her reasoning, and the reasons I have been shouting from the mountain tops are clear:
Conservatives who ignore amnesty while carping about the debt ceiling, TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), the Internet tax bill or Benghazi are too stupid to help their country. 
Suppose the Senate had passed a bill that would cut Texas out of the Union? Would that get your attention, fake tea partiers? Without Texas, Republicans would immediately lose 38 electoral votes, two senators and 24 members of Congress. (Democrats would lose only 12 House members.)
How would you rate the prospect of repealing Obamacare if Republicans could: never win another presidential election; never win another majority in the House; and never again win a Senate majority? Oh, and how does the expression "President Nancy Pelosi" grab you? 
Would that bill be slightly more important to you than the Internet tax bill?
Well, guess what? Amnesty will produce the exact same result as losing the entire state of Texas. In fact, merely continuing our current immigration policies will achieve the same result; it will just take a little longer.
Coulter is 100% correct.  

We've already told you how the Democrats' single strategy for electoral victory is about inciting fear and hate against those who produce and value America's unique culture of liberty and economic freedom.  We've told you how the immigration policies championed by Ted Kennedy in the 60's were specifically designed to transform the American populous by replacing it's independent citizenry with low-skilled, uneducated third-worlders more open to centralized control.


We've told you how the GOP's pandering to illegal immigration in the past has not only been bad for the country, but has resulted in Republican support among Hispanics to actually decline, a reality that runs counter to the propaganda being spouted by today's crony GOP leadership.  We've even pointed out how peer reviewed academic studies have revealed the GOP's support for amnesty would not only not get them more support among Hispanics, but it would be devastating to their support among their base.  


We've even given marketing advice to the GOP leadership that has been time tested, tried and true.


We've told you about the concerns of one of the world's leading economic minds who warns the United States is destroying its future by allowing mass immigration of the world's poor.  We've shown you how those mass immigration policies are are causing demographic shifts that are distorting the true state of America's educational system, they even distort the measures of quality of education between the states.


We've even dug into how the social engineering behind these mass immigration policies is directly responsible for the 2008 housing crisis and recession.


Finally those with a voice in the national media like Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, and others are starting to get the picture, unable to ignore the enormity of evidence that keeps building before their eyes.


If you are still not convinced, consider this simple fact.  The Republican party has only won the majority of popular vote in the Presidential race 1 time in the past 32 years (2004 Bush vs Kerry).


Once reliable Republican states like Ohio, Virginia, and Florida are now blue.  Texas is projected to become a toss up in 2016 and be totally blue by 2020 if a sound immigration policy is not enacted immediately.


Once that tipping point is reached, the GOP will never win another national election and will be virtually incapable of winning a majority in either house of congress.  President Pelosi is very much a likelihood in our lifetimes.

Republicans aren't at much risk of losing any of these seats, with or without primary fights. But we'll lose them all within a decade if Republicans like Tillis, Ellmers and Cantor aren't stopped.
In 2014, Immigration reform is the only issue that should matter to Republican voters

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rumors of Sebelius Return to KS Politics Makes Her the Butt of the Joke

I heard Kathleen Sebelius tried to file to run for Senate in Kansas but the website was down.


The KC Star is reporting that KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach has extended the filing dead line to run for US Senate for 3 months.

President Obama has granted a waiver to Kansas Democrat candidates for US Senate.  They now will not be required to comply with Kansas election laws until 2015.

Senate candidates from Kansas have received news from the election board that their 2014 filings have been cancelled and they must refile through the new federal election exchange website that is expected to be online and in working order sometime around 2017.

Rumor is Kathleen Sebelius will run for the Senate in Kansas.  However, she will have lots of competition as the federal government now mandates all Kansans run for Senate as part of the president's signature legislation, the Available Candidate Act (ACA).

Kathleen Sebelius new Senate campaign slogan: Vote for Sebelius and Get a Free Abortion.

The CBO is reporting the cost of Kathleen Sebelius's campaign website has reached just over $600 billion.

The Kansas Secretary of State's office is reporting they will change the way votes are tabulated in 2014.  The results of the change is expected to increase the number of votes cast by dead voters by 2 to 3% or whatever Kathleen Sebelius needs to win.

Is This Why the NY Times Called Out Sen Roberts on His Lack of KS Residency?

It was curious to many observers that the nation's leading paper of record would take such an interest in what state Sen. Roberts called home.  The issue was made all the more strange when it was revealed Sen. Roberts hasn't lived in Kansas since he was in his mid-twenties, some 15 years before being elected to congress to represent the sunflower state, which left the paper with more than 50 years to uncover the scandal.

Today the NY Times may have just tipped its cards:  Sebelius Said to Weigh Run for Kansas Senate Seat
"Several Democrats said this week that Ms. Sebelius had been mentioned with growing frequency as someone who could wage a serious challenge to Mr. Roberts, 77, who is running for a fourth term and is considered vulnerable. One person who spoke directly to Ms. Sebelius said that she was thinking about it."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'll Ask Again, "Who Isn't Paying Their Fair Share?"

Hat tip CNS News:
Taxpayers earning $100,000 or more a year pay 71.6% of the nation’s share in individual federal income taxes, according to the latest data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2011.
You might wonder what percentage of tax payers fall into that $100,000 plus bracket...
In 2011, according to the IRS, there were 145,370,240 individual income tax returns filed. Among those returns, 125,914,418 or 86.6%, belonged to taxpayers earning a salary less than $100,000. The remaining 19,455,822 returns belonged to those taxpayers earning more than $100,000, or 13.4% of the total. 
While those top earners, earning six figures or more, represented only 13.4% of the total number of individual income tax returns reported to the IRS, they contributed nearly three-fourths of the total amount of federal  tax revenue from individual filers reported for that year.
So, 13.4% of taxpayers pay 71.6% of all income taxes.

I'll ask again for our "progressive" friends, who is it exactly that isn't paying their fair share?

When more than 47% of Americans pay no income taxes at all, it's obvious to see who isn't paying their fair share and it isn't the folks paying three quarters of the taxes in this country.

Oh yes, let me stop you loons now, "nearly have those 47% work and pay social security and other taxes."  It's funny how social security is only considered a tax by the left when they use it to excuse the parasites in our society.

The fact is those making $100k or more salaries also pay those taxes and many others.  They pay capital gains taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, taxes on their phones and energy uses, taxes, taxes, every where there is taxes.

Even worse, of those 13.7% who are bearing the brunt of income taxation in this country that happen to also be employers, guess what, they are also paying the other half of the social security and medicare taxes the small percentage of workers in the 47% claim excuses them from income taxes.

The simple fact is that the federal government's spending has gotten so out of hand they can't seem to find enough money to steal from productive people.  They've even taken to going after the children of social security recipients that the federal government was so incompetent in paying that they paid them too much.

Meanwhile, the IRS continues to shell out billions per year in child tax credits to illegal immigrants.

Don't expect the left to change their tune on redistributive taxation anytime soon... with only 13.7% of taxpayers footing the majority of the bill, they will be able to find plenty of parasite voters lining up to get their "fair share" of other people's hard work.

Sen. Roberts Becomes Champion of Fair Tax

In an email to supporters, Senator Pat Roberts took tax day as and opportunity to Re-affirm his undying support for the Fair Tax:

Roberts logo 2
April 14, 2014
Dear << First Name >>,
Tax day is fast approaching. While it's in the news and fresh on the minds of most Americans, I want to reinvigorate the fight to gut the IRS and establish a system that is fair to everyone and that puts more money back in your pockets and less in the pockets of Reid and Obama!
If you are with me in this fight, take the following steps now:
1. Respond below and automatically add your name to our open letter to Senator Reid calling on him to allow debate on a fair tax system before the November elections!
2. Contribute any amount you can today. I promise to invest it immediately in our efforts to elect a Senate that will implement a fair tax code that respects taxpayers and encourages economic growth.
3. Forward this email to as many friends and neighbors as possible and impress upon them the importance of being engaged.
We need all hands on deck this week!
Thanks for being an active part of our team!

The announcement is not only timely, but is likely targeted specifically at Milton Wolf's base of support which is largely made up of Fair Tax supporters.  But, KC area Fair Tax supporters aren't buying into his devotion to the cause.

"Republican Senator Pat Roberts is trying to look all Conservative now by appealing to the FairTaxKC board for our support and by becoming a Fair Tax Co-Sponsor after thumbing his nose at us for a decade," wrote one Fair Tax board member on his blog.

To be fair (see what I did there?), Senator Roberts did sign on as a co-sponsor to Fair Tax legislation in September of 2013, making Kansas the only state where their entire congressional delegation has signed on to the plan.

Picture

For those who are unaware, the Fair Tax plan would replace federal income taxes with a consumption or sales tax.  Many argue the plan is regressive, resulting in the poor paying a higher percentage of their income on taxes.  However, the Fair Tax plan calls for an annual prebate payment to the poor to alleviate the taxes on food and clothing.

Unfortunately the plan is pretty much unattainable at the federal level because it requires the repeal of the 16th amendment, something Democrats, to say nothing of the fear mongering media, will ever allow to happen.  So, it is difficult to see just how many votes Roberts or Wolf wins for their side by latching on to the plan.

Sen. Harry Reid Demands Justice


Sen. Harry Reid told a local news station in Nevada on Monday, "We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it."

Seems Harry Reid didn't care too much about not letting the illegal aliens "just walk away" a few weeks ago when he called on President Obama to issue executive order halting deportations.

Seems Harry Reid wasn't too concerned about letting President Obama "just walk away" after Obama illegally issued for "recess" appointments when the Senate wasn't in recess.

Seems Harry Reid wasn't too concerned about letting himself "just walk away" after he accepted illegal campaign donations from Harvey Whittemore who was found guilty of illegally funneling $150,000 in pay-to-play campaign donations to the Senate Majority Leader.

Seems Harry Reid only cares about the rule of law when it suits him, like when he can bring the awesome might of the federal government's domestic military force down upon the heads of some lowly rancher and the frustrated Americans who have been forced to sit by helplessly and watch as the lawless regime he is an integral part of has its way with the Constitution and the American legal system.