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How do psychology, sociology & economics experts address education disparities?

January 20, 2014 1:26:11
Kaltura Video

Kerwin Charles, Stephanie Rowley, and Angel Harris give their perspectives on the causes, consequences and potential solutions to the problem of educational disparities in the United States. January, 2014.


>> Well today's event is jointly hosted by ISR Survey Research Center and it's also co-sponsored by 2 of the Ford Schools research centers. The Education [inaudible] and the Center for Public Policy and Diversity and Science, and. I'd like to thank those students for working together and to actively bring today's round tables together. Especially the [inaudible] Jacobs and Robin Jacob. Robin at ISR and Ryan of course is a member of the Ford School Faculty who will be helping to moderate the panel. Well as you may know today's event is part of the universities 28th annual celebration with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. What you may not know is that the theme for todays or for this year's symposium is power, justice and love the ultimate divine. And I have to say that as I reflected on that theme it seemed to me that the topic for our panel today causes of and potential solutions to educational disparity. That topic is squarely at the forefront of the challenges that we face of terms of healing the divide that confronts our nation. Educational disparities are linked to geographic, socioeconomic and racial equalities and they really are grounded in the history of our nation in very foundational ways and recognizing that we have a long way to go to realize Dr. King's goals of freedom, justice and equality really requires us to think through, to recognize and to address the critical challenges and disparities in our educational systems. So I look forward to both hearing and them discussing in the second part of our panel the implants and solutions of [inaudible] proposed to us this afternoon. But before our participants begin, it is my pleasure to introduce the Bill Axem [assumed spelling] in addition to directing ISR Survey Research Center, he's the professor of sociology, and research professor at the Population Studies Center, and his research focuses on a wide range of issues related to social change, family organization, intergenerational relationships in the United States and in Nepal. And with that very desperate set of prospective I am delighted to welcome him to the podium. [ Applause ] >> Thank you so much Susan that was lovely. The Surveying Research Center at the Center of Social Research is pleased to be co-hosting this round table. The second of our 2 MLK day events focused on the issue of educational disparities in the United States. The institute has a long history of collecting high quality social science research on education. Social science research in the public interest and especially education. The Survey Research Center launched a few years ago its program in educational well-being, it's led by Brian Rowan and Robin Jacob. And it is the core element of our commitment to studying education and launching this kind of work on education. The education of children plays a vital role in ensuring the long term prosperity of our society. But it's an area where we as a nation continue to struggle. Thus we thought it was fitting that this year's MLK symposium focus on the issue of education disparities. Last week we presented a play about the struggles of a first year teacher in the Chicago public schools. The play underscored the marked disparities that exist in our educational system particularly in urban schools. We hope our program today can help us explore more deeply the causes, consequences and potential solutions to those disparities. I am now going to turn things over to Robin and Brian Jacob our co-organizers of this event who will introduce our speakers. Robin Jacob is a research assistant professor in the education well-being program at the Survey Research Center and at the School of Education. Brian Jacob is the Walter Hanford Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics and Professor of Education at the Ford School of Public Policy. Please help me welcome Robin and Brian. [ Applause ] >> So when Brian and I began organizing this panel we set out to find a preeminent economist, an sociologist and physiologist for prospective on the issue of educational disparities in the U.S. We wanted a group of people who were well respected in their own disciplines who could provide insightful perspective on the issue, who could speak across disciplines and who would appeal to a wider audience. Stephanie, Angel and Kerwin more than meet all these criteria and we are thrilled to have them here. But we were also really pleasantly surprised to discover that they all have something else in common, which is that they all have a current or former affiliation with the University of Michigan. And with retrospect this shouldn't have been a surprise it simply underscores the excellence of this great university. >> So they way we're going to proceed now is I am going to do a brief introduction, a formal introduction to speakers they will each speak for about 20 minutes and then we will open it up for questions. I would like to remind the audience that if you have a question for our speakers please write it down on one of the cards passed out at the entrance so Ford School volunteers will be collecting cards at around 4:40 pm. If you're watching online please submit your questions via Twitter using the hashtag eddisparities. And so just going in alphabetical order Kerwin Charles is the Edwin and Betty Albergman distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy. His research focuses on a range of subjects in the broad area of applied micro economics. He studied at issues such as racial composition of neighborhoods on the social connections people make, differences in visible consumption across racial and ethnic groups. And in recent work has stated that the degree for which prejudice can account for wage and employment differences by race and gender. Also as many of you know Kerwin is a former faculty member at the Ford School in the Econ Department and ISR, so he is a perfect fit for the round table here. Next Angel Harris is a Professor of Sociology in African American studies at Duke University. And co-director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Identity. His research interests include social inequality, policy and education, his work focuses on a wide variety of social physiological determinates of the racial achievement gap and factors that contribute to differences in academic investment among African American, Latino and white youth. And as Susan mentioned before he is a distinguished graduate of the doctoral program in Sociology and Public Policy here at Michigan. And we are very pleased to have him back with us. And last but not least Stephanie Rowley is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and the Department of Psychology. She is a psychologist with a PhD in developmental phycology form the University of Virginia, and her works looks at the development of achievement and motivation and how that differs across race and gender. She's recently started a project looking at the predictors of parent's socialization and the effect that that socialization has on the outcomes of children and how this varies across race and gender. So we are delighted to have all of our speakers here today. Without further ado I am going to invite up Angel Harris who is going first because he was bold enough to have power point slides so [laughter]. So... [ Applause ] >> Can everyone hear me? >> Yeah. >> Well thank you all for coming I am honored to be here and I hope that I have some interesting things to say. This is prospective from 1 sociologist. So I'm going to jump right in. So what I am going to talk about today is how I think part of the problem is that there is not enough respect for the problem. Also that I think we are spinning our wheels when it comes for explanations for educational disparities. And then I'm going to talk a little bit about where I think we should focus. So I'm not going to really present any research. So what is the achievement gap? How big is the achievement gap? Well, what I am showing you here is achievement for Blacks, whites and Hispanics in the 12th grade. So this is based on National Assessment of Educational Progress. So this is national represented data, okay, 12th graders. Each test of skills with a 300 is considered proficient. So you see that white 12th graders are closer to being proficient that black and Hispanic 12th graders but in order to give you the sense for the gap I am going to put up a red line. And the red line represents white 8th graders. So this is 4 years' worth of growth. But the other thing you will notice here is that on average white 8th graders are -- actually black and Latino 12th graders are graduating high school with skill sets equivalent to whites in the 8th grade. So it's a 4 year gap. On average. This a different way of showing you the achievement gap. This is based on NEAP data again National Assessment of Educational Progress, so this is national represented data. And here you are looking at the students at or above basic proficiency level and I am going to highlight the bar for blacks where you see slightly more than a half of blacks are proficient in reading and less that a 1/3 are proficient at math, science and U.S. history. Hispanics are not doing too much better. Now this is the gap over time. Okay? So here you're seeing every decade that the U.S. Department of Education collects large scale data sets and this allows researchers to conduct studies on education. And so I am showing you the standardized gap for the Equal Education Opportunity of 1965, the National Longitudinal Study of '72. High school and beyond of 80 and 82 and the National Longitudinal Study of 1992 and the Educational Longitude Study of 2006. So these are all 12th graders in those years. And so because you're going across decades and, you know, across different tests and different samples. The gap was standardized so you're seeing how the gap changes over time. Well Hedges and Newel conducted a study in which they calculated that the gap at the rate of decline from '65 to '92 the gap was closing by .126 standard deviations per decade. So in other words, how many times do you have to subtract this number from that number to get to zero is that's how many decades it is going to take to close the gap. So roughly 5 to 6 decades to close the gap. Given the rate of decline from '65 to '92 absent any major intervention. Here is the same information for math, 12th graders again, rate of decline is .08 standard deviations, so what you're seeing is it is going to take roughly 10 decades for the gap to close in math. Absent intervention and that's given the rate of decline from 1965 to 1992. So those projections are good up to '92. What has happened since 1992? What has happened since the mid '90's? Here I am showing you the gap on perhaps the most consequential of exams the SAT '96 through 2012. The scores are not important, what's important is that the lines are not converging and so that convergence from 1965 to 92 has stalled and so now we see that the gap is pretty much, you know, it's flat and that's reading, and there's math. So essentially what I have shown you so far is that it's a 4 year gap. It's pretty big on an average black and Hispanic 12th graders are graduating with 8th grade skill set. It's pervasive it stands across a wide range of subjects; reading, science, math, U.S. history. You can't just focus on 1 particular subject. It's persistent, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. And given this trend we haven't even begun to cut into those projected declines yet so I would still say that those projections are probably still arcuate in the terms of 5 decades in reading and close to 10 decades in math. Absent any major intervention. Some news that I thought was good at one point was that these lines -- so this is 2012, somewhere toward the end of this right here is 2014 and these lines are going to drastically converge by 2014, and the reason why is cause the No Child Left Behind Act suggested that this was the year for the gap to close [laughter]. And so when they suggested that I thought that they were aware of these patterns but that there was some magic plan that they were going to unveil [laughter] that was going to lead these lines to converge drastically in 1 year. It just makes you think about when people think about policies are they realistic? Are they aware of the data, are they connected to the data and the trends and the patterns? So I've talked about the gap in terms of test scores. Well here's the gap in terms of GPA. What I am showing you is the average GPA for students in 2001 was 330. So this zero represents 330 in 2001 and whites were this much more than the national average so they are 336. Right? So this is showing you how much more they above the average in 2001 and in 2011; that's whites, Asian Americans, there's Hispanics and blacks. So it's a gap that shows up on standardized tests, it's the gap that shows up on GPA, teacher evaluations, so it's a real problem. Now why is this perhaps I think the biggest problem facing this country this century? Here you are looking at the U.S. population percentage white and non-white in 2000, 2010 and from here on we have projections. Regardless of whether you believe the projections, it's certainly clear that the country is rapidly diversifying. You cannot have nearly half of your population walking around with 8th grade skill sets on average. There's no way that doesn't affect everyone. And so this is why I think this is a big problem and I think that when you hear politicians or superintendents say that you know, I am going to close the gap in my term in office. You know, this is going to be closed within the 3 or 4 years, they don't respect the problem. It's like the trying to stop a freight train with a BB gun. You know you don't walk into the office of an oncologist -- and this is an example I like to use -- you don't walk into the office of an oncologist and say you guys have been working on cancer research for decades, millions dollars have gone into this, I want the cure by next week. We don't say that because we respect that problem. And so this problem warrants that same level of respect when you realize the depth of it. So part of the problem is that we do have a lack of respect and people actually believe they are going to solve it within, you know, the next 5 to 10 years. The other thing is that I think we are spinning our wheels. So one is that there are tons of explanations that have been put forth for the gap. I am going to talk about a few of the popular ones. One you have is genetic deficiency. This was put forward by Author Jensen a psychologist, and Hurston and Murray revived it with the publication of the Bell shaped curve. And this is -- there really is not much empirical evidence to support this although there are some researchers at UNC Chapel Hill who have been doing some work on the role of genetics in predicting social behaviors. There's a data set called add health that has a thousand variables and each variable corresponds to particular gene, and it is measured as 012 the absence of a gene, the presents and lord the presence for sure of the gene. And it's only a matter of time before I think that it starts to get linked to achievement. It's a clumsy way of -- it's what happens when social scientist try to play geneticists but never the less I like to think that it is not taken serious anymore but I can't really say that knowing that there some scholars out there that are still kind of thinking in this direction. The next thing is that there are differences in school resources, in family structure or family social economic status. And this explanation is one that, you know, we have all heard various variations of this. The gap still exists when you control for social economic back ground factors. What that means is to give a brief a really, really quick, what I mean by control for is when you equalize on characteristics that's where you're controlling. So an example I give because I'm going to -- I'm a friendly quantitative researcher so often times going to let's say you have an achievement gap in this room and women are out preforming the males let's just say. And you realize that the women are sitting closer to the board, the average distance for the women is closer. Well, we could say let's control the seating arrangement and so if you randomize so now the average distance from the board is the same for the males and the females if you retest you see you have controlled for seating arrangements and if the gap closes then you can that was it. Right? And so imagine randomizing on SES or comparing kids across racial groups who are similarly situated with regards to social economic factors. The gap is still there it exists, it's only a 1/3 smaller. So in other words there's a gap in Ann Harbor, and Shaker Heights Ohio, and Prince George County Maryland these are fluent school districts and they still have an achievement gap. Another one is bias in testing this one I will talk about in a few minutes. Then there is that schools perpetuating equality; essentially they tend to, you know, raise kids to occupy the space in society from which they originate. And then finally there is a cultural deficiency narrative and so we've all heard some variation of this. This is the one my research tends to focus on. This is, you know, bad kids they just don't want to learn, Latinos just don't want to learn so this is opposition of culture they are afraid that if they do well in school they will be accused of acting white, so this is that explanation. There are a lot of other explanations but these are just some. I am convinced that it is not the culture explanation. I have conducted several studies on this I have written a book on the topic and I've looked at 6 different data sets, 2 from the UK, and I have tried to find evidence for this frame work and I do not find support for it in the U.S. or the UK. So I am fairly convinced that it is not this. And I just published a book this month on parental involvement in which, you know, I was trying to test whether or not, 1 of the things that one can look at is if the achievement gaps stems from the fact that black and Latino parents are less involved and I don't find support for that. So I'm not convinced. So where should we focus our attention? Okay, so here's the answer [laughter]. I'm kidding. So testing bias is 1, early schooling is another, lack of a real dialog on race, and a lack of understanding for structure. Okay. So I want everyone to take a second and read this question. The actors bearing on stage seemed blank, her movements were natural and her technique blank. The answer is C. But I want people by the show of hands to show, do you think this question is racially biased? If you do, show of hands. Way up high. Okay, obviously you know the answer is yes. It is racially bias [laughter], but it's not bias in the way most people think it is. Most people are going to say well it was bias because lived experience, you know, black people don't have this lived experience, Latinos don't have this lived experience and so therefore they are not familiar with the theater. You know, we have all heard some variation of that narrative. That's not why it's biased. It's actually biased against whites. This questions is biased against whites. A greater share of black students answer this question correctly than white and so it is biased against whites. When you are in -- the ETS Education Testing Service, when they construct their exams there is a roster of questions that are on the SAT, or LSAT, or whatever exams that they create. There is a roster of questions and anytime they put new questions on the exam they never introduce an entirely new exam that is too risky because we believe that these questions have been imbedded and they are measuring what we believe they are supposed to be measuring. Therefore when you introduce new questions you have to do it slowly, 1 at a time. And so every test contains some test items that don't count toward the total. And at the end of the test when everyone takes the test, you then determine if that test item is good enough to call it a roster and so the only way you can determine how the questions preformed is you have to see how it preforms relative to the other questions in the roster. So keep that in mind. Basics of ETS construction. Each individual SAT question ETS chooses is required to parallel the outcomes of the test overall. So if high scoring test takers more likely to be white tend to answer the question correctly in pre testing it is a worthy SAT question. If not it is thrown out. Race and ethnicity are not considered explicitly but racially desperate scores drive testing question selection, which in terms reproduces racially desperate test results in an internally reinforcing cycle. Item selecting is not random. This is not a quirk of any one particular SAT test. The SAT's are designed to be very strongly correlated with one another. I don't believe that the ETS intended for the SAT to be a white preference test, however the scientific construction method the company uses leads to this result. The actors bearing question that you just read looks like a typical SAT verbal question yet the question differs from others in 1 important respect. According to ETS 8% more African Americans than whites answered the question correctly. So it is a black preference question. Nearly all SAT questions captures something about race that can't be determined under pretesting. Because it favored blacks who score lower on the test overall this question which was pretested in '98 did not favor high scores and therefore was rejected for use on the SAT. There are several questions that are black preference SAT math questions that are also rejected. So is it fair? On October '98 every single 1 of the questions on the SAT favored whites over blacks. Latino test takers were similarly effected fairing only better than blacks. The same pattern holds to the LSAT and other popular tests. So the thing I say is that if you are black and you did poorly on the SAT don't worry about it [laughter], it was rigged. It was rigged. If you're white and you did really well on the SAT don't get too happy it was rigged [laughter]. This is how this pattern makes sense. Now this pattern makes sense to me. If I construct a test and I have 100 items and I give it to everyone in this room and I only select the items for which females score correctly -- a greater share of females score correctly, and I will select those items I am going to have a gender gap. And that gap is going to be persistent. Because I am only choosing the questions that a greater share of females score correctly. And that's how these patterns make sense, that's how they are so consistent. They are so persistent. So that's one thing that's bias in testing. The second place we need to focus is on early schooling. So here I am showing you achievement in fall of kindergarten. This is based on data from Fry and Levitt. What I did was I plotted their findings. I just made a visual image of their findings. So this is fall of kindergarten; Blacks, Asian Americans, whites. Whites are the average. So I am showing you if whites scored a 20 on average and Asians were a 22 then I am showing you the plus 2. Okay? So here is the same information after you control for social class, social background factors listed below. So here's the gap, after you get your social class in the fall of kindergarten and keeping those factors controlled moving across time. That's what happens to the gap. So essentially if you compare blacks and whites in similarly situated with regards to social class, blacks actually do better than whites in all of kindergarten in reading. That's reading and that's math. And so blacks and whites are most similar to one another academically when they walk into the school system. Here is data based on a CDS, Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and it's not panel but what I am showing you is that the gap for 1st graders, 2nd graders, this is how much worse blacks are doing relative to whites in reading and math, Woodcaug Johnson, and you see that the gap widens and it kind of settles down somewhere around middle school. But they are most similar here. So here I am showing you two kids, a white kid and a black kid and they're growing -- so they -- so this is years, this access, this is knowledge. Make no assumptions about the gap here. Here they are entering the school system and this is what happens. And this is what actually should happen. Because they are most similar when they come in here and it is after they come in here that you start to see the vergence. So the final thing -- final place where I think we need to focus -- so that was bias in testing, that was early schooling, the other thing is understanding probability and distribution and that is something we don't understand and this is important for educators. Here is an example that I give in order to bring across a sociological imagination. Say you have 80 red students and 80 blue students and the red students take a test prep course. Well, I am putting test scores down here so this is 1 blue kid. Each dot represents one person, so here you have 80 red students and 80 blue students. Each group is going to have -- that's the average for everyone, but each group is going to have its own distribution. Okay? And so what you see here is that not everyone who took the test passed and not everyone did not failed. Okay, so these are the personal problems and this is a success story. This morning that I actually learned from Kerwin the phrase, guy who? Guy who and that will become obvious now in a second. So example I like to use this for is let's say you took all these people and randomly sorted them into Hawaii and Kansas and come back 10 years later; in which place you would have a higher proportion of swimmers [laughter]? So let's pretend that there is a score on a swimming exam. And these are the people sorted into Hawaii and these are the people sorted in to Kansas. Well not everyone in Hawaii can swim and not everyone in Kansas can't. This is the guy who. This is the person that says it's not true that if you come from Kansas you can't swim because I know a guy who [laughter] swims like a fish and he's from Kansas. And then someone says I know another guy who, you know, is from Kansas and can't swim at all. And so the point is this becomes that charter school that is working. And we want to build policy around guy who. And that's not understanding the notion of distribution and where in the distribution are we looking, this data point that we are looking at where in the distribution does it sit? And I think that is something we need to learn more about. This is another little example I like. I have 1 minute left but I want to go thru this. So this is Affluentville and Hood Town [laughter], so here you have nice cars and you have some pot holes and this person didn't make it but these people made it. Here it's not quite the same. These people can look at them and say, "Hey we made it to the end, we have fewer car repair bills, we are better drivers than you." What's wrong with you guys? Right? And that's often not understanding the distribution that they belong to. That this person here is not the same as them. Because look at all they had to go through to get to where they are. And so it is lack of understanding of proportions and distributions. And the final thing is that -- and I will get to the punch line -- is that we don't know how to talk about race in this country, and if we are going to talk about the achievement gap and how solve the racial problem we have to be comfortable talking about race and that is not something that we do very well. And so there are studies that teachers -- 1one study -- I will briefly summarize one study, which a black kid and a white kid were video recorded and were told, "Look today you guys are going to be white the day." You all know what that means, they were white for the day. You know, they -- you know hi Bob, hi Bill, they were white for the day [laughter] and the next day they were recorded and told to be black for the day. And you know what that means they have swagger for the day and these videos were shown to teachers and teachers were asked to evaluate these students in terms of problem behaviors, the need for special education and achievement. Guess which pair was rated worse on all 3 just on basis of the video. And so these are biases that people have. And it's a result of us not knowing how to talk about race. So this is my final slide. I think that there's a dialog among blacks about race, each group has a dialog about race so if, you know, you go to the living room of black folk, you know, after dinner and they get to talking you going to hear some dialog about race. Right? And you know, there are things that black folks say when white folks aren't around. Right? White folks have a dialog about race but see this is a segregated white school and they have a dialog. He ain't part of it and it's probably about him, but he's [laughter] not a part of it so he doesn't know what they are talking about. Right? And so what's in this dialog? What do black folks say? Well, we say you can't trust white people; they wear shorts in the winter, they don't think they are privileged, they stereotype us, they are racists in denial these are the kinds of things we say [laughter]. What do white folks say when we aren't around? This is what they say, I'm going to tell you. No I don't know, I don't know. But the point is that we [laughter] have very little overlap in terms of the kinds of things we actually talk about. So we need to be able to talk about race in a real way in this country before we can solve the achievement gap. Thank you. [ Applause ] [ Silence ] >> Where's the guy? Is the microphone on? >> [Inaudible comment]. >> Okay. Well good evening good afternoon everyone. So again I am Stephanie Rowley and my primary appointments in psychology, so as Robin and Brian asked me to think about how people in my field think about educational disparities I was thinking primarily about psychological approaches. And I guess when I was thinking about psychology I was thinking about the stereotypic phycology which is thinking about what happens in the brain, though psychology is technically the study of behavior. So first I just want to say thank you to Brian and to Robyn and to Susan and to Bill for having me today. On my way over I got a I don't know, Facebook post shout out from a good friend of mine from undergrad who was reminding me that 28 years ago he and a bunch of my friends who were here as undergrads at Michigan back in the late 80's I guess I might as well say it since it has been 28 years. Were the first to really fight for the celebration for Martin Luther King's birthday, and so what an honor to be here. Very exciting. So Brian and Robyn again said okay, what did your field say about educational disparities? So I started thinking about it and what I realized is that psychologists say relatively little about educational disparities. That is when you look at the literature in psychology starting again in the late 80's coincidentally. What you see is a lot of discussion about the nature of race comparative research. And one of the things that happened right here at Michigan, actually I was an undergrad at the time, folks like Bonnie McLloyd who was one of my mentors started studying the way we look at race in psychology and one of the things that came out of that body of work is that we do really a poor job of comparing people across race and often times we don't equate people for socioeconomic status, and in fact are choosing low income African Americans and middle income whites and comparing them and we are ending up with these deficit models of learning and development that are really damaging to the low income ethnic minority children in particular so this was pretty much in developmental psychology, but not exclusively. And so there was this movement to move away from race comparative research. Not because there is something inherently bad about race comparative research, but because we were doing an inherently bad job of carrying out this research. So relatively few people are doing what Angel was talking about in terms of comparing whites and blacks and finding those variables that explain disparities between them in psychology. But there are certainly a few areas where people are doing some really nice race comparative work and demonstrating the issues around discrimination, stereotyping, classroom culture are all reasonable explanations of achievement gaps. I would say reasonable in that they're still not really explaining a lot of the variability's so there's clearly is something going on that is beyond socioeconomic status, it's beyond stereotyping, it's difficult to really gage discrimination. I would say it's not so far beyond discrimination. But I really was trying to take it as a -- or think about it in terms of psychology proper. So the interesting thing though is that if you pick up psychological journals and you read anything about African Americans or Latinos the very first paragraph of those papers is going to say blacks do less well in school than whites, Latinos do less well in school than whites. There is an achievement gap that has persisted over time. And yet when you actually look at the research what you find is that they are not race comparative at all. But you're saying oh the racial identity predicts achievement for African Americans. Or maybe that parent involvement predicts achievement for Latinos. So I think that one of the things that has happened in psychology in particular is that we have problematized African American and Latinos and we begin every debate about black and Latinos from the prospective of this deficit or difference. So I've had colleagues actually and others say to me, "But how you can talk about black people without talking about the achievement gap?" You can't talk about how well black students do in school without pointing out the fact that they are not doing well. Right? And in fact you know this is the elephant in the room. If you don't say that first and foremost that I often struggle with my students because this is where they want to start, and to me the real elephant in the room is why don't we talk about that Asian/white gap that Angel had on the slides. Why are we not concerned about the poor performance of white students in the United States and why is ti that when we talk about achievement gaps we start with low income ethnic minority students? There could be lots of reasons for that. I don't know but I think that there is something in the way that we frame the achievement gap even the very term that begins at this place of deficit, of vulnerability, of pathology, etcetera. And I think that then purveys the experiences of these student that we are talking about. So I am really convinced that in many ways we are doing damage to the very students that we are trying to help by framing their very existence in terms of the way that they are less than, different from, etcetera. So I got really interested in this a couple years ago so I was reading the "Ann Arbor News" back when there was an "Ann Arbor News" [laughter]. And there was a story there about the achievement gap in Ann Arbor so again as Angel pointed out there is a sizeable achievement gap in Ann Arbor, people say, "But the schools are great and there are so many resources here so many opportunities I just don't understand it." Topic for a different day. We don't need to today. But my point was that in reading that article what I noticed was that the way they were talking about the achievement gap and the way that the local schools are trying to address this was through addressing the children. That is they were saying well, we need to through more money at them we need more special programs. We need more tutoring we need people from U of M to come in and sit with them -- no offence to people form U of M who came in and sit with students because I think it's great. But we problematize the child rather than the school. So who said what can we do to the school context that would change things? And in fact there are a number of achievement gap interventions that have been really successful in North Carolina for instance. So one of my favorites is where the school invited high preforming African American students to visit, just visit a gifted classroom where they didn't have test scores that were high enough to get into gifted programs but they were allowed to visit for a year. So at the end of the year they retested these kids who were visiting and low and behold their test scores were high enough for them to legitimately be in the class. Well what happens? You put a kid in a classroom with the best teacher in the school, with the best students in the school, with the most rigorous curriculum in the school and they flourish. But instead what we often want to do is segregate these children in special education programs, special tutoring and special this that and the other and we don't think about the larger context. And so my first point is really that we need to think about how indeed we are framing the problem, the achievement gap and where we locate the problem. So I in one of my own studies that came out of this -- so I wrote a small grant in response to thinking about this and I said what do parents and kids think? So as a black parent when I send my kid to school every day am I thinking that I am sending him off to be part of the gap [laughter]? You know kind of. And what happens to parents when they do that? And so what we did is we interviewed black and Latino parents and their kids and we gave them this story about the achievement gap about half of them read above the achievement gap. And then we asked the parents after reading the story to help their kids on like a math homework type task. And we played it up like it was really difficult and even the parents who weren't in the priming group were told that school is hard and the task is hard and things like that. And what we found in those parents who were reminded of the achievement gap before they helped their kids was that these parents were more intrusive so when they helped their kids with the task they were more likely to take the task over for their child, you know, the autonomy is really important for kids at this age these are middle school kids. We found that they were more negative and anxious during the task and they were less supportive of their kids. So our interpretation is that the framing of the achievement gap, the constant reminders in the minds of parents, and teachers, and kids are then leading parents to potentially maladaptive parenting. So you're not allowing your kids to explore things on their own because you're so nervous about how they are going to preform, and of course this is going to trickle down tot the kids and about how they feel about themselves. Obviously we know this is also effecting teachers as well. So I think that this deficit approach also influences the kinds of questions that we undertake. Another one of my colleagues John Haggen did a study of the outlets -- the top outlets for adolescent research in psychology. And he gathered all of the articles from these journals from a period of time and what he found is that the studies of black and Latino youth were almost all pathology based. Saying what is wrong with black and Latino youth? The studies of white and Asian students, of white and Asian youth were primarily normative. So how does their life unfold over time? And so of course we're beginning to get to this point where a child comes into the classroom and the teacher can tell by looking at them that they are a problem because they are a part of a particular group. And we know from studies of young teachers in particular that they are heavily swayed by these stereotypes again as Angel pointed out simply by looking at children and by hearing speak by looking at their clothing their hairstyle etc. they are making judgments about who these children are and what they need to do to fix them. Right? So there are certain kids who need to be fixed when they walk into the classroom, which has some serious implications for their ability to move within that space. So this brings me to my second thought is that we need to move outside of the box of just thinking about what's happening academically in the classroom and think about some nonacademic things that are effecting children down the line that effect performance. One of the big things I have been thinking about a lot for the past several years is the school to prison pipeline and the fact that black and Latino youth are much more likely to end up suspended, and expelled from school. These rates of differences are gigantic 3 fold, 4 fold in some cases. And so what is happening is the ACLU has put together a lot of really wonderful resources on the topic and what's happening is a black child engages in the same behavior as a white child and the black child is more likely to be suspended or expelled. The other thing is African American children are more likely to be suspended for what I call "soft offences", things like being disrespectful to the teacher or disruptive to the class where as white students are more likely to be suspended or expelled for more concrete offences like smoking or bringing drugs to school, etcetera. So that means there is more question or more subjectivity I think in line with what's happening with a lot of the African American students. So the psychological issue is here is that what then happens to the student who was suspended? So you go home for like 2 weeks. My son had a friend who was suspended in the 6th grade for sending an inappropriate note to a girl. He was suspended for 14 days. In the 6th grade. Right, and -- no he 10 days, she got 14 because she initiated the contact. But the point is for 14 days he sat at home where were his parents? They had to work. He's at home by himself for like 14 days. So do you think he got his homework? Do you think he was missing out on instruction and then psychologically what happens to him as he returns to school? So he comes back to school and his friends are looking at him, this has disrupted his relationship with the teacher, it has disrupted his learning process. The whole class has moved on without him there are on 2 units further and he's ready to go to sleep so he kind of checks out or he engages in further misbehavior. And so I think this is a serious problem because again the disparity in disciplinary action is leading to disparities in achievement. What other kind of non-classroom issue that I wanted to raise as thinking again about psychologists is the issue of physical health and wellbeing. So we know that African Americans children in particular are losing many more days of school to illness. And asthma is one of the biggest illnesses that is keeping African American children home. They're missing many more days of school due to asthma. Also obesity related illness and sleep related disorders. So lately I have been really interested in the causes of stress and how they manifest in achievement, and it is via these health related issues and we know asthma is exacerbated greatly by stress. We also know that sleep is disrupted by stress and that African American students are getting less sleep than pretty much anybody else. Poor quality sleep than anybody else, and we have found recently in some of the work we are doing at The Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context here at Michigan we are finding this disordered sleep is then leading to difficulties. So lower persistence in the classroom, lower engagement in the classroom, less preparation for school, you're less likely do your homework and of course your sleepy all day so it is causing problems in social relationships as a whole host of other things. And so what -- you know, I think with the adult literature on things like racial discrimination what we are finding is that there's lots of connections to psychophysiology and these physical kinds of outcomes. We are thinking about these less I think in the lives of children and how these diseases are racalized in some way at least in terms of the rates of -- that African American kids in particular are experiencing them. So to conclude psychology does not tend to study educational disparities by and large so we tend to study predictors of performance within African American, within Latino, within other ethnic groups however we tend to still frame things in terms of educational disparities but only for certain groups. So the disparities are only relevant at certain times. Although identity related processes are probably most explained -- so I didn't' talk about the whole host of other things that predict achievement for students of color. There are so many things outside of the academic things that I think psychologists study but we haven't been brought to bear this question of educational disparities in race and ethnic related disparities. Although consideration of context is integral to psychological studies, so we do study context all the time. I also think that more should be done to fully explore the role of school resegregation. So what happens as schools are rapidly resegregating around the country? In Michigan there's this schools of choice initiative that has really led to high concentration of poverty so this is where children can go to a neighboring school take their money with them and go to this other school because it's better academically or in whatever way. And what is left is a number of districts that are primarily minority in the state that are highly concentrated in terms of poverty. And so there's a question about how some certain context are working in tandem with race and them also some of these policies. So one of the things that's interesting is Angel kept saying without intervention but we are thinking of No Child Left Behind in effect as an intervention and what we know is the gap has closed almost not at all since 2003. And so, you know, we have to think about how these interventions are also causing unexpected negative consequences. Things like high rates of instability amongst these schools where principals are leaving or having to leave as part of restructuring. Whole teaching staffs are being fired and these children's base of support is being eroded because someone said you have to do something radical because things are not working out. Other things, school start times, access to health insurance I think -- are a number of different policies that are directly effecting these issues. Thank you. I look forward to your questions. [ Applause ] [ Silence ] >> So thank you very much for having me. I am very happy to be back home as I was saying today. Lots of the things I wanted to touch upon have already been mentioned by my other panelists. In particular the fact that the racial achievement gap is massive, is very well known to you. So what I am going to do for the first few minutes of my talk is in fact the entire talk I am going to speak both about achievement as has been described thus far and obtainment, years of completed schooling etcetera. So when I say obtainment I am going to mean both things. So when you look at the data the striking thing to the social scientist is that the gap however measured, achievement GPA or everything or propensity to graduate high school. These are big gaps. As has been said, they are big, they are appear to be durable and we observe them irrespective of the measure we look at. Precisely why that should be is very puzzling. I think that something that we have not talked about today and something I have been hearing about more and more is the possibility that the gaps might differ by gender among blacks, which if true I don't know this to be true but I have been hearing about these factors. Brian will certainly know. But if it is true that's a deeply tantalizing result like why should it be the case that girls should be faring better than boys on some tests if their environments are almost exactly identical. I say almost exactly because a brother and a sister do not live in precisely the same environment. Parents interact with them differently thus and so. But access to various resources are roughly similar. Leaving that point aside the thing is big. It's not clear exactly why it is so big and it's not obvious what to do about it. So I will spend 10 minutes or so talking about 3 questions. One is what accounts for the gap? Second question is why should we care that the gaps are as huge as they are? And finally how might we fix them? Okay? And so I am going to begin with the middle one. Why should we care about the fact that the racial attainment/achievement gap is big? I come from the prospective of an economist. I think about consequences of these gaps manifest in themselves chiefly in the labor market. Okay? So I look out at the world most people receive their material wellbeing from their earnings. Okay? So I say if I look at peoples earning I observe dramatic differences by race. Blacks earn way less than whites on average. Latinos are in between. Good. Now what accounts for that adult material well-being differential? One striking thing we see in lots of research is that education attainment or achievement explains the overwhelming bulk of it. In deed there's a very well-known paper by my colleague in Chicago, Derrick Neil in which he argues that you can explain the entirety of the black/white earnings differential just conditioning on schooling. Some of those results have not been called into question not in terms of the quality of the work research conducted, but looking at things slightly differently. It appears that the overwhelming majority of the gap can be explained some believe by schooling attainment differences. So to the extent that we care about people's consumption, or well-being or access to resources over the course of their lifetime. The fact that education explains much of it is one reason we should care. Yes? The second reason we should care is that if you turn your gaze away from earnings and you focus on things like incarceration probability. Or you look at things like marital durability. Yeah? Whatever you look at it turns out that being more educated -- I have not mentioned race in this part of the conversation but higher levels of education act as a kind of insurance against these negative outcomes. And so for all these reasons the fact that in terms of earning, in fact of outcomes like the ones I have mentioned incarceration, marriage, whatever that schooling is so sharply protects you from bad outcomes is 1 reason, yet another reason we should care. There's a 3rd reason, I think a 3rd set of reasons. I don't know exactly how to frame this, I think that 1 of the really danger our things about durable gaps in attainment is that even if the explanatory power of education for earnings or incarceration were zero. Let's think for a second. Imagine it were the case that education differences played no role in my earnings later in life. And did not in fact effect whether I went to prison or not. Education and the exposure to education in childhood is something we all share. The fact that there are durable differences by race in my view causes people to question the otherness of blacks in particular. Yeah? What is it with these people kind of like that? And they don't say that exactly but when I see a pattern that says that the 12th grade African Americans on average have 4 years less schoolings than whites. There are people that would see that result, many of millions of people and say I told you about them people. They might not even say that but think it which is more dangerous. And when you think or are convinced about the otherness of a kind of person then bad outcomes that afflict that person or that type of person do not strike you as anomalous and worry of intervention. And so we should be concerned about the gaps for at least these 3 reasons in my view. As has been said I'm an economist and so the economist turns his attention and says we should care about these things, what explains them? How do they come to be? Okay? And so in economics we use a particular prism to examine the education decision. Remember it would be using attainment to mean both achievement and say the completion of a given level of schooling. Economist tend to regard education as principally a result of an investment decision. The logic here is that some agent you yourself if you're an adult or someone acting on your behalf if you're a child, causes this agent decides to get more schooling. So as to receive greater returns in the future. Yeah? Now this investment occurs at a cost and so education has built within it this necessary dynamic thing. You see? Where incurring the cost today or my child is incurring the cost today and the benefits to her are being received somewhere in the future. Even the distant future. And so why might we suppose there to be systematic differences by race in the cost of attainment? Yes? So one possibility might have to do with, I'm not sure, this is me speculating here [laughter] might have to do with the support that families can provide. That's 1 possibility so education is required at this certain cyclic cost. If I had in fact had calculus I can instruct my child in calculus, thus and so. Families that have not been so privileged can't do. That's kind of one thing. And so perhaps its material disadvantage, contemporary disadvantage, feast by the child herself or her parent that prevents attainment levels from being equal. Another possibility has to do with expected future returns. And so 1 of the things we have done too little of economics is to link the education decision, the decision to invest today for payoffs received tomorrow. To phenomena that go on in the labor market. Might it be the case that I wonder that African American parents or African American young adults contemplating the college enrollments choice asked themselves a question like this? I go to college to this wonderful university like Michigan and I major in whatever thing and let there be some likely hood of labor market discrimination when I am age 25 or 30 of some amount. Yeah? Might that be the margin effect my decision, might in particular cause me not to go relative to my equally talented peer? Might a parent having that kind of belief, not nudge her child along as far along as she could, as she should right, because of precisely this kind of concern. And so there are reasons to suppose that features of the labor market and the way the labor market has historically rewarded families and family's expectations about likely future rewards might systematically effect the propensity who differ by race to achieve different levels of school. So that's a human capital view. There are other features of human capital I want to briefly touch upon. Notice that when we talk about expected future returns the investor or the investor's agent which is to say Kerwin acted on behalf of this child. Investor's agent has to form this expectation of what earnings will be in the future. Discrimination, expected future discrimination might enter into what my belief about my child's future earnings. But more generally maybe I am told by the physiological literature there is something about systematic subjective belief differences by race. The source of which I do not know but if there are in fact systematic subjective probalistic differences, say blacks are more pessimistic about the country for whatever rational reason. It might well be that that even the absence of discrimination their belief that investment today pays off positively down the line might be smaller than it is true for whites. I have mentioned things here that economists don't necessarily focus on so much but I thought I would mention them. One set of things that we do focus on a lot have to do with the educational production function. By the educational production function here I mean the mechanisms by which inputs bringing your kid to school depositing him or her. How that's translated into an educated kid down the line. Yeah? If you think about the educational production function it has various inputs 1 is the teachers. Yes? Another is the text book, a 3rd is the unions, thus and so. Now, for that to be a key explanatory -- for it to be the principle source of a difference by race 1 of 2 things has to be true it seems to me. It is either got to be true that African Americans and Latinos confront an educational production function fundamentally different from that of whites. Yes? Now the more integrated the society is the less likely that is to be true. It turns out that society is becoming more and more resegregated so this argument, the possibility that the nature of educational production itself differs systematically by race, is something that we must seriously contemplate. Notice that even if educational production is exactly the same its effects might differ by race. And so 1 of my friends told me that he sends his kid to a school in Chicago where we both live that's a charter school. And its discipline focused charter school and so I cast [inaudible] on the school this is just the thing, and so you go in in the morning and everybody has to stand up against the wall that way. And then you have to raise your hand to do that and kind of like that. And I thought about this and I thought this would be terrible for my son. It would be terrible for him the interaction of his kind of his endowments and rules much to my dismay is not good [laughter] and so you can imaging putatively race neutral education production. That none the less usually have different racial effects for reasons of history and the rest. I will take some, you know, I will leave this aside some other points about education production for the question and answer period. I want to make sure I spend a few minutes talking about fixes. What might we do about it? It's a tricky thing. I'm always very nervous about solutions because lots of our contemporary problems were someone's solution the other day, you see. Very nervous about that. But let's think about this 1. It seems to me like we can think of the schooling attainment let's split schooling into junior and senior where by junior here I mean someone for whom the educational investment decision is made on their behalf by an altruistic parent or guardian or somebody, and on the other side think about it as adult decision. Where a child is deciding whether to study her physics homework or to write the essay or kind of like that. Okay? Now one of the really interesting things to me about the junior investment decision is that lots of the policy's I see and proposed might not have the effect we intend. For if you reflect on it briefly predictable reasons. Let me give 1 example. One example I have in mind is the role of teachers in education production. In so economists in general and labor economists in particular have spent lots of time over the last decade or so coming up with very convincing causal estimates we call them, about the effect of teacher quality on everything. Yeah? And let's suppose that's its done perfectly it's a R.D. people in the Ford School know what I mean, right. Its clean it's beautiful and so better teachers based on the scores on some tests translate into a 7% increase in what everything. [Inaudible]. And so you're the mayor of the city, and someone brings you this excellent result and report. In fact it's 12% not 7%, 12% and he says this is what we have to do we have to improve the teachers in these schools, the quality of the teachers. And you hire a new [inaudible] of Education to get that process initiated. But she fires teachers because lots of them have not scored well thus and so. You might imagine the black parents curiously would end up opposing that very initiative and why might they do that? They won't oppose the initiative because they do not care about the educational attainment of their children instead it might be the case that the people fired under this policy represent what currently constitutes the black middle class. So if you think about the people terminated in Washington D.C. under Michele Ray all of them are African American middle class teachers. And so you say on the 1 hand if I improve the qualities of the schools or the teachers children's outcomes will improve but the parents and the children themselves know that the people at church, their aunt, everyone -- not everyone they know -- many of the people they know have lost their jobs under this scheme. They will oppose the policy for the vary rational reason that the policy has a spillover effect that's inimical to its stated goal. That's one possibility. A second implementation as to what I want to mention on my remaining time has to do with the higher level of education. Folks like people in this room. What we have not talked about much is the fact that at selective schools Berkley, and Michigan, and Princeton and Yale and so forth. The share of students who are African American and Latino keeps falling. That's another achievement gap. It's not just the 8th grade. What about that? How do we fix that? It turns out that fixing that raises all kinds of complicated questions about fairness and justice. Yes? And so my bottom line here is that whatever remedy we propose, whatever remedy we propose will require the enthusiastic buy in not only of the putative beneficiaries of the policy like the black parents in Washington D.C., but of the broader community. Cause in the absence of that buy in there will be no program I can think of that will close these differences. Sorry I am such a pessimist [inaudible]. And the 2nd thing I want to say is that were as economics have brought lots of sharp insights to these question many of the things I have mentioned are not within the preview of economics. We can't answer at all or answer them well, and so whatever answer is ultimately devised will be an answer that draws from the expertise of people in political science and psychology and sociology and that's a plea to my economist colleagues. Thanks. [ Applause ] >> So we have of course we have more questions that we will ever have time for so I am just going to jump right in. So question for Angel. We have a couple of these so I will kill 2 birds with 1 stone. So a couple questions about what would a real dialog between races look like and do you have any suggestions for how to facilitate that or encourage it? >> Yeah well I think that a real dialog is 1 in which white folks say what they want to say, and black folks don't become angry with them. For example 1 of the things that happens often times isn't that there are thoughts that, you know, many people's grandparents might have, you cringle you hope that your friends don't know my grandmother feels this way. You know you cringe and a lot of us might have these views but for a lot of -- if I'm a white person I'm going to be careful about what I say because I don't want that black person sitting in class looking at me like say something, say something. You know how it is. So the last thing you want to do is be labeled as racist for a genuine question that you have that is real. Right? Because we -- and so we have to be able to have a dialog where both groups feel comfortable and you have to appreciate that whatever someone says you have to say okay, given their lived experience this view makes sense to them. The question then becomes how do I present alternative pieces of data that helps them see a different view or a different side? Because we all racist of some degree. I will give you 1 quick example. I remember I was at Princeton and I heard a girl shouting across campus to get someone's else's attention and I heard Sarah and I turnaround and I thought -- and I said thank goodness she's white. And the reason why is because if she was black I would cringe because it doesn't look the same. It looks worse. This is why the same behavior infraction for black and white kids, the black is punished more harshly. When you look at blacks and whites just think about it. You see a bunch of white kids outside skate boarding you see a bunch of black kids it doesn't look the same. So when I hear some kid's in the library making noise I always hope that they are white. Why because they can sustain that, to their image. But for black folks I cringe, I'm like oh God because of what or how it is going to be perceived by the other. And so we have got to be comfortable talking about these things and teachers see this and they are making assessments on what's the same but its' really not the same. >> Another question that came up a few times form the audience had to do with the gender differences and so it was eluded to before there is certainly gender differences among white but the gender differences favoring girls is even larger among African Americans. What can this tell us about potential explanations and potential solutions to attainment among African Americans? >> So I mentioned gender differences and I think that I tried to say but didn't come across clearly perhaps we know, lets imagine a brother and sister in the same household. It is the easy thing, the casual thing, the careless thing to say that they have the exactly same environment. Let's imagine that African American children are disproportionately likely to live in single mother households. My colleague Dan Black and I have done this very simple thing and we have examined that single mother's knowledge -- [inaudible] that's why I ask this quite about parental familiarity with the teenage child's friends. Right? The mother knows a lot about the girl friend like when she who she's going out with, what she's doing, thus and so and knows way less about her teenage son. I make no causal claim don't [inaudible] [laughter]. That's interesting to me and there is kind on internal logic, you know, like I can imagine a mother saying what do I know from being a teenage boy. I think this is an area demanding more investigation. But at the minimum it suggests that course kind of unsettle arguments about the nature of material deprivation on outcomes need to be modifies and sharpened. If outcomes are that different by gender and they are different. Yeah. >> That is something it depends on it is a difference you are looking at. So there are a lot of basic, you know, grades in elementary and middle school for instance the gap between white girls and boys and black girls and boys are quite similar. Attainment certainly there is large differences, right. So who's going to college? There are larger differences as you move through high school in terms of course taking and things like that but I think that -- you know I think that there is this tendency to distort some of the differences and assume that there's this double jeopardy for black boys wherein black boys are doing you know expediential worse than black girls or white boys in school. That's not necessarily true. I think in psychology there has been some similar kinds of models where it's been found that among African American parents -- well no among parent's mothers tend to have higher expectations for their daughters and they put more demands on their daughters for maturity and fathers tend to do the same for sons. So fathers have higher expectations for sons and put more, have greater demands on them. And the issue then as it relates to socioeconomic status is that low income African American parents or families are likely to be headed by single women and so if you're a son you get the sort of warmth and support of the mother but not necessarily the high expectations of the father. Also don't want to assume that just because the father is not residential that he is not involved, but certainly there seems to be some suggestion that that's one of the reasons for some of those disparities. >> I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we all navigate different spaces and so there was a movie by -- "Shallow Hal", which was a movie with Jack Black and he fell in love with -- a spell was put him and he was supposed to fall in love with peoples -- see peoples inner beauty. And so he fell in love with the woman as he saw as Gwyneth Paltrow but the world saw as a woman in a fat suit. But it was a very well done fat suit so it wasn't like Eddie Murphy the clumps, it looked like a real person [laughter]. So he sees -- he falls in love with her and during the making of the movie I saw Gwyneth Paltrow being interviewed in the fat suit and she says you know it takes hours to take it off and we get as many takes as we can. So in between the takes she is walking through the lobby of the hotel and she says, "You know the stares that I received," she said "for the first time I know what it is like to live life in a body like this." An obese person will look at her and say oh yeah that's my life. That's every day for me. All of us are navigating the world and the world's interaction with us in different ways, right, and so as a white woman there are things that you pick up about the world and things that you can access that I can't. Right? And so and just think about this, the amount of distance that we have to come from social interactions even if spaces like this the amount of difference -- you know, we all have a witch we have to be on. The amount of distance that white males have to when they turn the switch on its not as much distance as a black person in this space. You know here we are on, we are formal and then we go home its what's up man [laughter], you know it's a big distance you have to cover. And then if you black you add to that distance the whole male criminal, thug jail, you got all those stereotypes and so just imagine that the world is kind of perceiving black males in a particular way. The worst of all the groups. And they have to navigate that in schools as children. Teachers are kind of, you know, I am going to fix you they are projecting negative stereotypes even black teachers themselves especially because there thing is I am going to fix you so you will not shame us when you get out there. You see what I am saying? And so you're always communicating that there is something wrong with your blackness or your black maleness. You have to be fixed. So I think that plays a role as well. >> So there's a questions here about the role that federal policy plays in all of this and I am going to expand it a little bit to say more generally since we are in a policy school. What role can policy play in this? Is it always a negative role that some of you [inaudible] or can it be a positive role? >> [Laughter] Look, suppose we didn't measure by race. Suppose we didn't measure by race at all. What would be different about the world? Suppose we didn't know, right, that maybe scores in Alabama or whatever are x% smaller for black children. And weren't walking around with that in our heads actually don't have an answer to this question. I'm just saying it's interesting to think about. Suppose we didn't know that incarceration rates were up. That's clear federal policy and I think that we never question things that we have inherited from history. There is no reason it seems to me to collect data carefully by race we don't collect data by height. And if you believe it to be an equally uninteresting data, which I do not believe but work with me. Then why not add it to the [inaudible]? Testing, is interesting. Maybe make tests lower stakes perhaps. I think that it's good that we know how children are faring. And I think this peculiar that the country varies so widely based on the accident on where a child happened to be born in what is expected of her that she be taught or that she know in high school or middle school for that matter. I know that this is very controversial thing and its particular implementation under this and the pervious president make it even more so. But I like that policy approach and the 3rd one is that it seems to me that our efforts to narrow racial differences in schooling and other things if applied too late are almost doomed to fail. My own conjecture is that by senior year of high school is too late. I'm not an education expert that's my guess. Kids 6 spend do you know to, so take federal dollars away from higher ed and [inaudible] ed towards primary school and maybe even before. Again I say all this without any -- there's no regression there's no [laughter]. >> [Inaudible]. >> [Inaudible], whatever [laughter]. >> I would say I think we need more creativity. And so clearly what we are doing now is not working. And there are some people who say they have the answer, some schools, some charter schools here but clearly overall it -- whatever we are doing it's not working. So what we need is we need to -- anytime you see an intervention it is usually an incremental change so they are taking the basic model of what we have now and then just adding this. Let's add a little more dollars, let's add less increased training here, and so its incremental changes and then we wonder why it isn't working? Because it is the same fundamental model. What I am saying is perhaps we need an entirely different model of knowledge delivery but if you told me hey change basketball. I'm saying okay I am putting 3 goals on the court and 2 balls. I don't' now what that game looks like but if you force me to come up with a set of rules to accommodate that structure that's a different game and I'm saying that's what we need with education we need and entirely different game. Maybe we can have multiple models. You know? You over here try this model, you guys over here try this model and, you know, let's see what happens because right now what we are doing is not working so let's try different models we have to et creative. And so this is again with no data, this is all from the gut as an inperisist I should be uncomfortable talking like this [laughter]. But given that nothing is working I think that we need to take more risks and just be more creative and be open to completely drastic models of education delivery. >> I think we have one more question because of the time. This is something that a few people have mentioned there is the role of what economists sometimes call as non-cognitive skills, motivation with determination, you know, other things has been, you know, received a lot of attention and so on social sciences research recently. What can we learn from the 3 disciplines about ways in which these types of non-cognitive abilities could be used to improve the outcomes of low income and African American children? >> [Inaudible comment] [laughter]. >> Well I think that there are [inaudible] factors that are involved in education. I really think a lot of what happens in the schooling of African American kids in particular, Latino kids, low income kids and thinking about this concept of social distance and the meaning of this social distance rate so if you're an immigrant from anywhere there is a social distance because your coming to a new country but that distance may mean something different in terms of how you are being read by others and how you view yourself. And I think that, you know, I wouldn't want to come down to a certain set of variables but I think that a lot of the disruptions at school come from the perceived distance, the preserved otherness of the kids and so I think the interventions that I think really work either make those factors unimportant. So that it is if you figure that parent involvement is the problems and disparity's involvement of the problem then you set up a system wherein either you can get all the parents involved or you make parent involvement unimportant. So I think you know thinking about some of the charter schools, the kid academy's or where ever that are working in some ways I think they've been able to overcome the social distance expectations and provide high quality social relationships but I think it's difficult to spread widely. >> I was going to say you know maybe it's just me but people who persist and sticktuidness, they usually do it at things that they are good at. I don't know too many people that persist at things that they are not good at. You know, usually they give it up at a certain point and so perhaps what needs to happen is that students, particularly lower achieving student need to have more victories along the process. Because that keeps you're persisting. It's when you realize you have a chance to be good at something that you can seem to persist that's why you enjoy basketball because you think you're going pro, and that's why you give up on golf because I am not good at this. And so I think that to have a system where you have a series of victories in there, real victories, you have to have real victories where you teach them something and point out the victories and not always the failures and I think that that's really important because I don't know people who persist things that they are bad at. Or they don't know -- if they do persist they don't know that they are bad at it. So they continue cooking they don't know that they are bad at it [laughter]. >> I actually think that non-cognitive skill that this is a really important area for us to think about going forward. If you reflect on your life and you think about people who you admire and people you think are very successful we sort of grow up to be like. You know? There are people who are great and by great I mean they can get up after a punch. Kind of like that I don't know what the word is for that but that's a thing you can get up after a punch. Life is about punches people punching you all the time. And I am told that there exists racial differences in these gaps. In these in these non-cognitive measures, but I am also told that we have no sense whatsoever about how the gaps are produced. The skills are produced, it's not inconceivable to me that something about black material disadvantage could increase among public schools. You see what I am saying? It is conceivable that women confronting the environment of gender discrimination might become stronger as a result. I don't know whether that is true or false, but my point is we have to think more carefully about the production of non-cognitive skills which we know too little about before we start messing around with them. This leads society to the point -- the excellent point made here about the fact that people will only persist or tend to persist either when they are good or when they don't know how terrible they are [laughter]. >> So thank you for everybody for coming I want to thank our panelists for really very thoughtful and thought provoking comments. There is a reception in the great hall which you all invited to attend and you can interact with our panelists there and thank you all very much. [ Applause ] >> That was fun.