Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Only Surprising If You're A True Believer

When the facts contradict your expectations, believe the facts:
Last week, the National Bureau of Economic Research released a working paper with a surprising conclusion — giving computers to low-income families does not affect student educational outcomes.
Repeat after me:  it's culture.   Keep repeating it until it sticks in your head.


allen (in Michigan) said...

Examine your own assumptions; the people who uncritically support all such government largess don't do so because of the efficacy of the policy, they do so for entirely selfish reasons. That's why they're utterly resistant to argument and not that interested in discussion.

From the point of view of the lefties who espouse these policies they obviously work since their purpose is to allow lefties to feel generous. The reasons provided are merely the stage dressing that allows lefties to fool the undecideds, conservative and themselves.

momof4 said...

That's no surprise. Similar results were obtained from a program to give x number of books to low-SES families. They're not going to do much good if they're only used to hold the gaming system. My DH had occasion to observe the results of a box of free kids' books at a local medical office; the large majority of parents availing themselves of that opportunity were the parents who had also brought books from home to read to their kids while waiting to be seen. The relationship between better academic results and number of books in the home is correlation, not causation. It's a proxy, like lots of other factors, for a whole array of desirable characteristics and behaviors. I'm betting that this is more of the same. However, it won't disturb the true believers because they're not interested in facts.

Ellen K said...

About seven years ago, when my kids were all still in school, a local low income middle school got a grant to provide, for a small fee, laptops to every single student. The projection was that the students would have better access to resources and their families would make use of this to improve their lives. Instead before the first semester was over more than half the laptops were damaged, filled with viruses (which compromised the districts network) and illicit material, games or they were stolen. This doesn't even get into the area of damaged machines. Now my district, under some assumption that children in utero are learning how to use Windows and Mac will be giving first graders-six year olds-fully operational IPADS which they are supposedly going to keep and use until they graduate twelve years later. This is a wrongheaded attempt to delude the public that by simply applying technology all low income, low performing students will magically come up to grade level. On the other hand, they won't have to spend so much time, money and effort on ordering, warehousing and monitoring textbooks. Now we will have a whole new set of excuses. The network isn't working (this actually happened during my final exams which were online as per requirements!), my IPAD won't connect, I spilled something on it, I forgot it at home, I lost it, I left it on the bus. All that changes are the fashions.