As a chemistry professor I feel the need to defend my field from John's apathy toward it. Chemistry is excellent for preparing the student in various ways, but I'll choose what I think is the most powerful: context.

In physics there are relatively few concepts and equations but each and every one is squeezed for all that it is worth, so you really need to know how to understand all angles of a system. In biology, the amount of information is virtually endless, so you must be skilled at processing that information efficiently, and focusing on that which is useful to the exclusion of that which is unimportant for the task at hand. Chemistry is in the uncomfortable middle-ground between physics and biology. In some cases one must approach the problem as a physicist, in other cases one must approach the problem as a biologist. The power of chemistry isn't in providing a particular way to approach a problem, but rather providing one the wherewithal to anticipate which approaches will work in which situations. The lack of these skills is made obvious every semester when students come into chemistry having already taken several semesters of calculus but find themselves stumbling over chemistry problems that involve simple algebra. They understand math in the abstract, but they don't understand it in context.

These skills are transferrable and find purchase in many, MANY other fields. An obvious application is the medical field. A patient visits his physician and the physician is tasked with finding out what's wrong and what to do about it. He can ask the patient questions and run tests, but there's a limited amount of time involved, so he can't ask ALL the questions or run ALL the tests, and in many cases even then wouldn't be 100% sure what the problem is. Each question and test has an opportunity cost. He needs to choose a path that will yield "enough" information to make a diagnosis after a minimum number of questions and tests, and needs to have the ability to quickly process new information to figure out what the next step in the investigation is.

Granted, I've been reading/listening to John's work for long enough that it's apparent he already has a good understanding of context. For many, though, chemistry is going to be THAT class, as much as they might hate it while they're actually taking it, when things connect

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Excellent dialogue. Glenn and John as Gramsci's of their age.

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DEI is simply a way of avoiding with the problems that arise from 70% of African American children being raised in single parent households. There is no shortage of studies and data that document the difference in aptitude of children raised in a single parent versus two parent household. These children start 1-2 grades below when starting school, and most can never catch up. The pandemic made the gap exponentially worse.

Take all of the money being spent on DEI, and all of the time being spent by the leaders of the AA movement, including BLM, and focus them on reducing teenage pregnancy and promoting male mentorship programs. Until African Americans own this problem, and actively try to solve it (instead of promoting abortion) there will always be a significant gap between the aptitude of African Americans and the rest of the country.

BTW, there's a huge number of Euro descent kids who fall into this same trap in poor ruralm areas, and hispanics as well, but the biggest problem is with urban blacks.

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So… when I was in early elementary school I was in very advanced math. I changed schools (from private to public) and only received enrichment for one year. In sixth grade, I got on the wrong side of my teacher so for junior high he recommended me for the lowest math class. Even at that age, I knew I wanted to study engineering… so my mom worked hard to get me to be able test into algebra in 8th grade. I taught myself algebra over the summer and a month into algebra I was able to test out of pre-algebra and into algebra and make up all the work. I managed to take the highest math available after that for the rest of public school. My kid’s system sorts students after 4th grade. My oldest into the algebra in 7th grade, and though she is really smart she struggles because the pacing doesn’t provide enough time for reinforcement, especially with COVID. My middle child was placed in the lowest math because of ADHD but will be in a catch up class to take algebra in 8th. My youngest was recommended for gifted in 1st grade, and as of 2nd grade is already getting math enrichment.

Okay, so with that out of the way, the evidence I have read is that kids do better without tracking. This is because if the kids are together the stronger students can help the weaker students and that increases learning for all the students. I think that is probably true. For sure, at some point there should be some tracking but it needs to be once everyone is exposed to a solid foundation. And the sorting needs to be less arbitrary than it is now. It shouldn’t just be based off one standardized test, on one day. It should be based on aptitude, interest, and class work.

I live in Virginia, recently there was an effort (now killed) to deemphasize algebra. The argument was that a lot of people fail algebra and it is the end of their math education. The suggestion was that there be semester length non-algebra math classes on more complex math — and I think that is a fantastic idea. Why shouldn’t a kid learn the basic concepts of statistics or geometry or calculus even if they struggle with the abstractions of algebra? To do the calculation you may need algebra, but to understand what a derivative means or what an inflection point means or what the significance of a standard deviation and a bell curve is — those are important for standard knowledge, and could awake a math/science interest that could help get them through algebra. Unfortunately, the argument against the reforms was more like “how will my kid get into UVA if they don’t take calculus in high school?”

Right now tracking too often aligns with parents income, not kids aptitude. I think that needs to be acknowledged and addressed. That said, at some point, high school and maybe 8th grade, it doesn’t make sense *not* to divide up students on the basis of aptitude.

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I wondering if there will come a day in the future where “reading the written word” will be considered a white supremacist prerequisite to being a linguist like John or an attorney.

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I’m not really sure how “dumbing down the math curriculum” is going to close the achievement gap. It seems like a very misguided effort to just juke the stats essentially, but it seems so badly thought out that that might not even happen.

For instance:

If the problem is that black kids aren’t performing in math, won’t reducing the complexity (or moving the passing grade down) just make the achievement gap worse if there is a bimodal distribution that roughly tracks to racial groups? Wouldn’t the white kids get passing grades at a marginally higher rate if they have an overall higher average and the distribution is normal?

I guess it matters where the passing grade is relative to the distribution, but what I described above seems possible at least.

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Powerful episode. At the 30 minute mark, John explains that there are people in Academia who need to point things related to racism regardless if it's true or not. It's very sad.

It comes down to the poetic truth that Shelby Steele explains in his book-"Shame." He also shares it with Glenn and John during his interview back in the fall of 2020 while speaking about the "Who Killed Michael Brown" Documentary.

There will always be an audience who is drawn to the poetic truth because it supports their group identity, especially if they are black. But it also comes with a price. I'll let my Glenn and John fans figure out what that price is. Glenn and John say it in every episode.

I welcome my fellow subscribers to agree or disagree with me. Thanks!!

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Jun 22, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022

Something that is seldom if ever discussed: the link between effort and natural talent. A person born with gifts of quickness, agility, and stamina would find tennis suits him, and that hard work pays dividends. This creates a positive feedback loop. A clumsy guy with bad hand-eye coordination is going to make comparatively little progress and, as a result, have far less interest in working to improve at tennis.

To say the difference between Agile Guy and Clumsy Guy is the amount of time spent practicing overlooks the root cause. No matter how many hours Clumsy Guy spends on tennis, he's not going to be competitive with Agile Guy. It's only natural Clumsy Guy would have far less interest in spending time on tennis. Lack of practice is not the cause of his tennis ineptitude, it's the result.

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Why is it that very successful black and Hispanic athletes don't push back on these "woke" people and talk about the effort they put into practice, learning the game, etc. despite having some innate skills also. I bet most knew someone who had similar skills or better but didn't put in the work and therefore didn't make the Pros. Why is sports, male or female, so different?

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I live in Princeton, and I've been following the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) fairly closely for several years.

I don't think the situation is quite as simple as described.

I don't think the Administration is planning a leveling-down de-tracking in Math, and I'm confident that the Board of Education -- which hired Superintendent Kelley -- would not approve such a program if proposed.

The redacted document scandal seems to have been the result of a review, for personal information required by law to be redacted, having been done by an over-zealous lawyer. The unredacted document has since been posted publicly.

I have a lot of concerns about the spread of wokeness through the PPS, but I don't think the attempt to disentangle the decades-old mess of Elements, Regular, Accelerated and Plus courses, forming a baroque network of tracks, is part of that problem.

I can post more, if there is interest.

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There have been many similarities between CRT based teaching in schools and the government's failure on covid-19. Here is another one:

Glenn and John note that administrators hired to find racism will find it, whether or not it exists. For covid-19, Fauci has blocked funding for important covid research on vaccines, masking, lockdowns, and so on. As Fauci critics, Jay Bhattacharya and Vinay Prasad pointed out, funding has been provided for centers to study long covid, and those centers will indeed find long covid, whether or not it exists. Their criticism is not politically based because Bhattacharya is center right and Prasad is far left.


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The link did not come through right, here it is:


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Jun 21, 2022·edited Jun 21, 2022

Racism and legal discrimination was not only morally wrong, but also devastating to the growth of the country. It’s hard to put a number on lost opportunity, but there was surely a great cost. How much talent did we miss out on by only allowing white males to hold a great number of positions in our society? How many potentially invaluable contributors went unnoticed because we were so rigidly focused on unimportant factors like race and gender? We should have drawn from the entire available talent pool, giving no weight to whiteness and maleness in our decisions.

If you gave a speech that included these ideas, you would get a warm response from the left. Yet they cannot see that the opposite must also be true. Focusing on race and gender in almost any evaluation process (with few possible exceptions) will be detrimental to the admitting institution, the applicants being favored, the applicants being discriminated against, and society as a whole. Requiring a specific race and gender, which this administration loves to do, would be even worse.

The sins of the past would be eagerly repeated if the hard left could get away with it. They embrace full on legal discrimination based on race and gender (identity), in the name of equity. I believe many would love the power to just ban white males from even applying for many positions. The problem is that they run into legal and voter challenges and that Asians just insist on messing up the narrative.

For the elite left, working to improve the performance of young, poor, at risk, minorities would require far too much thought and actual work. It would also entail a recognition of failures, which is something most people can’t stomach. And from a pure political-marketing standpoint, selling fear and righteous anger coupled with no personal responsibility is much easier than selling personal responsibility, deep self evaluation, and change. Once kids reach prep school or college level, there are two problems. 1. There are racial disparities in performance 2. We notice them. We have already established that addressing the performance disparity would be too much work so instead they are attempting to get rid of the noticing part. It's a short cut that is bound to backfire, which is a theme on the far left.

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This was an excellent discussion about an issue that has been occurring in many school districts. When there is racial disparity in outcomes, the logical approach is to try to determine why some groups have fallen behind, and then take steps to help them to catch up. The approach that Carol Kelley and many other administrators have been taking is to take steps to try to prevent those doing well from continuing to do well. The first approach would have a better societal outcome, and the approach being taken by Dr. Kelley will lead to a worse societal outcome than we have now.

This has been a major issue in NY City, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, and now in Princeton. Poor Asian immigrants in NY and SF were outperforming others so school boards and administrators took steps to reverse this. Board members in SF were recalled. Clinton protege Terry McAuliffe lost badly in the Virginia gubernatorial election because he backed the woke approach. McAuliffe lost the support of many Asians and many white liberals because of this stand.

This is another issue that's likely to hurt Democrats badly in November.

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my kid's school is doing math equity. she hates math. most of the kids hate math.

she is now in math camp. instead of doing it all 10 minutes before and getting perfect scores she's missing half the answers and working for days. she loves it.

math equity is the soul killer

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Speaking of Heterodox Academy... Kmele, on the most recent Fifth Column podcast, and only after first giving you love, took you and John to task. Apparently you told an academic to keep his/her head down rather than speaking out in opposition to "woke." Kmele holds the opposite view. I'm with you John, myself. A person has to pay their bills before setting out to change the world.

Glenn, in your discussion of college admission standards, you said, without explicitly saying it, that Asians are not People Of Color:

"The message that we send out to students of color is you can be okay but not absolutely great and you still can have a pretty good chance of getting admitted into our program."

The DNC has worked diligently to educate voters that the binary is POC vs Racist Whites. Let's not carelessly undermine that unity. This is especially important at a time when the most Mexican-American district in the United States has just elected a Republican congressional representative.

P.S. Did you see where FINA ruled that Lia Thomas is not really a woman?

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Since Kmele called John and Glenn out, I've been wanting to hear some discussion or debate on this issue. Either Kmele should appear on the Glenn Show or John and Glenn should appear on the Fifth Column. I support both shows and I'm not necessarily rooting for either side.

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I believe Kmele said on a recent episode of the FIfth Column that a discussion did take place somewhere. He implied that FreeThink owned the video and would be releasing it at some point. However it was vague. They have a friday round up post generally and I think it will be included in that once it is available.

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I hope so.

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Great chat and for once I don’t disagree with John on anything... could the professors talk about the fact that society has now accepted this idea of “people of color” (even they say it) which creates only two categories; white people, and everyone else. A Mexican kid who travels to the US illegally has nothing in common with a black kid from the ghetto, and yet we throw them into the same group just so we can “other” white people. I never use the term people of color and I try my best not to put ethnic groups together because they seldom belong as such

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A timely discussion. Diversity advocates/proponents ought to expect pushback against their Gospel especially since their motivations are often suspect.

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