Monday, January 26, 2009

The Obama effect on educational achievement?

In my non-blogging, editorial board job, I write an op-ed column that runs Saturdays. This past Saturday's (link here) was about Obama's penmanship (sort of) and speculating whether having an African American in the White House who is unashamed to act intelligent might have a positive, peer-pressure kind of effect, especially but not exclusively, on African American youths.

Guess what? Here's a link to an NY Times piece on a study that found something very similar.


Anonymous said...

I certainly hope you are right, but it's going to be a huge uphill climb to have youngsters turn away from peer pressure. Too many of these kids reflect their parent's lack of interest in education. Too many parents do not see education as important even for their kids. With teachers and administrations overwhelmed with the bureaucracy of today's schools and the burden of being placed in positions of surrogate parents for too many kids, there is little time left in the day to do what they trained to do and signed up to do - TEACH.

Edna Whetstone

Anonymous said...

I was having this conversation with someone the other day: Intellectualism is en vogue. Let's hope it stays that way. Thuglife was en vogue for way too long.

Mary Newsom said...

In keeping with this theme, colleague Lew Powell just handed me something from, listing words used by Obama in interviews, writings, etc: cohere, syncretic, endemic, abrogate, sui generis. (sui Generis - pronounced soo-ee JEN-uhr-is - means unique, of its own kind.)

Anonymous said...

Mary, You neglected to mention that in your Saturday column you blamed students' anti-intellectual attitudes on Republicans and Conservatives. An interesting column quickly became blatently political and partisan. Even the NY Times did not make that connection.

Cato said...

I've seen this remarked upon elsewhere. The potential weakness here is that the sample sizes are so small - that increases the likelihood that the difference is more attributable to sampling error.

This will be easy enough to measure going forward on "live" testing situations such as the SAT and the multitude of other standardized tests.

But, if nothing else, the elevation of Obama probably does weaken the idea that scholarship is "acting white."

Anonymous said...

So will more black kids start smoking, too?