We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Amy Chua’s Dangerous Ideas

9th February 2014

Read it.

Some people are better than others? Burn the witch!

As it happens, Canada is an excellent laboratory for the authors’ theories. And the Toronto District School Board, with its 250,000 students – one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world – offers the perfect natural experiment. The TDSB conducts detailed demographic analyses of its students and their performance. The data strongly confirm the group differences described in The Triple Package. (My thanks to education consultant Paul Bennett, whose excellent blog, Educhatter, led me to this trove of information.)

The first surprise in these data – for those who haven’t hung around a Toronto schoolyard lately – is that only 29 per cent of the TDSB’s students are white. The next largest ethnic groups are South Asian (24 per cent), East Asian (15 per cent), and black (12 per cent). About three-quarters of the kids were born in Canada, but only a fifth of the students have two Canadian-born parents. More than two-thirds are from immigrant families with both parents born outside Canada.

The second surprise is that there is almost no link between academic success and family income among immigrant groups. More than half of all East Asian students (Chinese, Hong Kong and Korean) come from families that make less than $50,000 a year. But they blow the other kids away. Between 85 per cent and 89 per cent of them score at levels 3 and 4 in Grade 6 math. The school board average is just 60 per cent. Most South Asian students do well too, even though 70 per cent of them come from homes with incomes of less than $50,000 a year.

2 Responses to “Amy Chua’s Dangerous Ideas”

  1. RealRick Says:

    Tim, no link.

    Back in the ’80’s when the boat people from Vietnam were being resettled in the Houston area, I “got volunteered” to do some work at an inner-city school. (The company I worked for liked to do that.) Most of the kids were black or hispanic, but the 5 or 10% Asian blew them all away academically. The science teacher (a black lady) told me that when she had parent’s night, none of the black students parents came, about 1/4 of the hispanic parents came, but ALL of the Asian kid’s parents came to EVERY meeting – even though none of them spoke English and had to have their kid’s translate.

    One may argue about genetic capabilities, but clearly the success of the Asian students has a lot to do with the cohesion of the family and the cultural drive to be successful and independent of charity.

  2. Tim of Angle Says:

    Sorry. Fixed now.