Paul, even according to your theory, Haim's statement is the valid conclusion. Whatever the reason for the bell curve, if you challenge students more then the curve will stretch. Whatever the myriad of elements that define each individual's performance in these subjects, making the subject more challenging will only exasperate the spread, right? This conclusion does not require us to identify the elements (poverty, IQ, class, etc). For example, let's suppose that the gap is predominately the result of socio economic reasons. What the heck can an educator do about socio economic conditions? Making subjects more challenging would only exasperate this situation. right? I mean, if the cause was predominately socio economic then the only fix would be socio economic. But when you purpose EDUCATORS to the task of closing the gap, the only tool in their tool box is the curriculum and the only way they can reduce the gap is to reduce the challenge of that curriculum. I am not saying ! that it is their explicit intention to dumb down school, but since they have no control over the real causes, as they continue to mutate the curriculum and favor changes that reduce the gap, there is a selection process going on and in the end you will have a dumbed down curriculum.
Educators cannot fix the real issues, whatever they may be, therefore, if they reduce the gap, they must have reduced the challenge. If I made this statement in 1950, it would be a conjecture, but making it now with the overwhelming abundance of data in front of us, it is a fact. An unfortunate fact, but still a fact. What the last 3 decades have proven is that educators cannot close the gap, but they can dumb down subjects.
On Sep 5, 2012, at 12:28 PM, Paul Tanner <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM, Haim <email@example.com> wrote: >> ...any combination of pedagogy and curriculum that actually promotes academic learning will necessarily exacerbate The Gap. >> > > This is not correct - in fact, it is anti-arithmetic in its denial of fact. > > For example: It's a brute arithmetic fact that if you and I have > statistically equivalent capabilities for academic performance and if > I'm already getting A's or B's but you are getting D's or F's on the > tests we take together, then in terms of ways of measuring like > percentage of correct answers or like classifying performance with > such as letter grades that reflect and preserve the upper limit for > performance inherent in percentage of correct answers, there's much > less headroom for possible improvement for me than there is for you. > > Now apply this type of reasoning to the measured academic performance > gap between whites on the one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the > other hand. Either a person is one of these conservatives who have the > racist belief that blacks and Hispanics are just not as capable of > statistically matching whites in academic performance or a person is > one who accepts the brute arithmetic fact mentioned above, which is > that any method that works equivalently well for each ethnicity will > eventually over time result in the gap in question being reduced in > terms of ways of measuring that reflect and preserve the upper limit > for performance inherent in percentage of correct answers.