Yes, intelligence tests like the SAT and the IQ test really do measure something substantial and consequential, argue David Z. Hambrick and Christopher Chabris in a new article for Slate.

The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way. (In a recent New York Times op-ed, the University of New Hampshire psychologist John D. Mayer aptly described the SAT’s validity as an “astonishing achievement.”) In a study published in Psychological Science, University of Minnesota researchers Paul Sackett, Nathan Kuncel, and their colleagues investigated the relationship between SAT scores and college grades in a very large sample: nearly 150,000 students from 110 colleges and universities. SAT scores predicted first-year college GPA about as well as high school grades did, and the best prediction was achieved by considering both factors. Botstein, Boylan, and Kolbert are either unaware of this directly relevant, easily accessible, and widely disseminated empirical evidence, or they have decided to ignore it and base their claims on intuition and anecdote—or perhaps on their beliefs about the way the world should be rather than the way it is…

Read the full story.

What do you think? Are intelligence tests unfairly criticized for reasons of political correctness? Or are some of the common criticisms justified?


Former College Fix assistant editor writes today for The Detroit News about the recent racial controversy at the University of Michigan, claiming that political conservatives are the real victims on campus:

On Martin Luther King Day, minority students at the University of Michigan made a list of demands, speaking out against what they feel is a hostile campus climate for people of color. Within days, the university capitulated to the group’s most costly request: a $300,000 renovation of the multicultural center.

Which begs the question: If U-M is as cruel and lonely a place for students of color as they claim it is, why do they always get what they want?

In reality, U-M could not possibly be more committed to appeasing minority students. In pursuit of racial diversity, administrators have proved willing to do just about anything: they fought an anti-affirmative action measure supported by 60 percent of Michigan voters, directed their legal experts to find ways around the law, and even provided monetary aid to minority groups in their efforts to protest the law.

In November, students of color undertook an effort to draw national media attention to their grievances, using the hashtag “Being Black at the University of Michigan” on social media to explain why their experiences at U-M have left them feeling marginalized. Said grievances were much was less riveting than advertised. One student wrote, “Having your opinions be second guessed or ignored in a group assignment.” Another wrote, “Being soft spoken in class because you don’t feel you belong, but then being docked points because you are not engaged in class.”

Such anecdotes hardly demonstrate that the campus is a hostile place for black students…

Click here for the full story.


I saw this headline on Drudge today:

School cuts gifted program over lack of diversity...

Clicked on the link, and what do I find?

A popular gifted-student program at a New York City elementary school is getting the ax after school officials decided it lacked diversity.

PS 139 Principal Mary McDonald told parents in a letter Jan. 24 that Students of Academic Rigor, or SOAR, would no longer accept applications for incoming kindergartners, the New York Daily News reported.

“Our Kindergarten classes will be heterogeneously grouped to reflect the diversity of our student body and the community we live in,” Miss McDonald said in the letter posted on Flickr.com.

At least one parent described SOAR as largely white, while others disagreed…

I read this story and I groan.

It’s one thing if you truly believe that students will be better educated if they aren’t given special attention based on their test-assessed aptitude. That’s a debatable point of view, but certainly not offensive.

It’s quite another thing altogether if you are actually canceling a program that will help better serve the needs of gifted students only because you don’t like the fact that there are lots of whites or Asians in the class.

That reeks of–well, racism.

Miss McDonald’s explanation for her decision certainly gives us the impression that skin color was the driving factor.

If you want to fix the lack of diversity in this school’s gifted program, it would be much more just and fair to actually address the real cause–the breakdown of the family unit among certain racial minority groups in this country.

For example, 72% of black babies are born to unwed mothers in this country. Do you think that affects the preparedness of those children when they enter school? It absolutely does. Do you think gifted black children fall through the cracks of the system because their home lives are unstable. They absolutely do.

There is data to prove it.

“There’s accumulating evidence that there are racial differences in what kids experience before the first day of kindergarten,” said Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard. “They have to do with a lot of sociological and historical forces. In order to address these, we have to be able to have conversations people are unwilling to have.”

Miss McDonald–it’s safe to assume–is one of the people unwilling to have the needed conversation.

It’s much easier to simply cancel a gifted program, and throw all kids together in a single classroom. Call it “diversity.” Call it “equality.” And then congratulate yourself and go about your day.

But you haven’t achieved equality–not for those children who are showing up unprepared for school.

Illegitimacy is a widespread problem, not just among blacks or Latinos, but increasingly among whites as well. There are real consequences.

This has nothing to do with skin color, ultimately. It has to do with moral choices. It’s also the result of a culture that rewards irresponsible behavior.

Platitudes about “community” and “diversity” are just a convenient way for educators to mask the problem, and feel good about themselves.

When kids grow up without both a mother and father–it wrecks their lives. Plain and simple. That’s the real problem at PS 139.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden


Students at the University of Michigan ignited a discussion of race at the University of Michigan last week, with a bit of help from social media.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

The University of Michigan tweeted thanks to the contributors for engaging in the conversation and promised their voices would be heard.

A sample of student tweets includes the following:

@paperframes:#BBUM is the constant assumption that you only got in because of affirmative action.”

@LehmanRobinson: “Personally, I’ve enjoyed my experiences , they’ve helped shape me into the diverse individual that I am today and I am proud of it.”

@HeyyyDramaQueen: “we’re only looked at as tokens…token black students who.they can say …yeah we graduated some black smart people just for display

@iDion__: “Only black person in my class

The University of Michigan has been ground zero for the battle over racial preferences in college admissions, with the two most famous Supreme Court cases concerning the issue, Grutter v. Bolliger and Gratz v. Bollinger, originating at the university.

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Campus Reform reports today on a controversy surrounding a student-organized game at UT-Austin.

A conservative student group at the University of Texas-Austin (UT) says it plans to host a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game on Wednesday in which students will be encouraged to hunt down, and capture other students wearing “illegal immigrant” badges.

According to a Facebook invitation several students will walk campus grounds with a label marking them as “illegal immigrants.” UT students who catch an “illegal immigrant” and return them to the organization will receive a $25 gift card…

Read the full story.

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Former Fix assistant editor Robby Soave reports for the Daily Caller:

Students at a public high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania proposed Trayvon Martin theme day to be one of their homecoming week events, but eventually settled on pirate hat day instead after many complained.

The idea was for Carrick High School students to come to school dressed in hoodies in remembrance of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death last year after an altercation with local neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Martin’s death has been cited as a case of racial profiling and vigilantism, even though Zimmerman is himself a minority and was acquitted of the murder.

“Commemorate Trayvon Martin, wear the hoodies, and make this a positive thing,” said principal Dennis Chakey in a statement to local news.

After numerous complaints, the event was cancelled in favor of–we kid you not–”Pirate Hat Day.”

Read the full story here.

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