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16 Nov 2005 - 23:34
Laurence Steinberg's 10-year study of American adolescents found that black & Hispanic teens have a 'C' culture, whites have a 'B' culture, and Asians have an 'A' culture. Across the country, he found, teens get the grades their peers get, regardless of the tone their parents set at home.
the social world of teens in Beyond the Classroom
the socially elite: 20% of student population
the alienated: 20%
'druggies,' 'burnouts,' 'greasers' (different schools use different names)
the 'average,' 'normal,' or 'in-between': 30% the 'brains': less than 5%
these kids are members of a high-achieving crowd that defines itself mainly on the basis of academic excellence
"students who thrive on academics, forge close relations with school staff, and avoid drugs and deviant actrivities"
the 'nerds' or 'loners'
"members are generally low in social status and, consequently, self-esteem" 'ethnics' 10 to 15% "Of all of the crowds, the 'brains' were least happy with who they are—nearly half wished they were in a different crowd."
Steinberg's study ended in the mid-90s. The new issue of EDUCATION NEXT has an article on the same subject, which suggests that the penalty for an 'A' average may be gone for white kids. (I've only looked at the charts thus far....) I'm wondering whether we're seeing a change in white kid culture, or a change in grading. As Bs became As (assuming Bs have become As), popular B-average jocks & cheerleaders have become popular A-average jocks & cheerleaders. We need to know how popular the Advanced Placement kids are.
integrated public schools
I also find that acting white is unique to those schools where black students comprise less than 80 percent of the student population. In predominantly black schools, I find no evidence at all that getting good grades adversely affects students’ popularity....Among the highest achievers (3.5 GPA or higher), the differences are even more stark, with the effect of acting white almost five times as great in settings with more cross-ethnic friendships than expected. Black males in such schools fare the worst, penalized seven times as harshly as my estimate of the average effect of acting white on all black students! This finding, along with the fact that I find no evidence of acting white in predominantly black schools, adds to the evidence of a “Shaker Heights” syndrome, in which racially integrated settings only reinforce pressures to toe the ethnic line.
we need vouchers now
This is interesting:
...shunning the academic is hardly the exclusive prerogative of contemporary African American culture. James Coleman’s classic work The Adolescent Society, published in 1955, identified members of the sports teams and cheerleaders, not those on the honor role, as the most popular students in public schools. (See an excerpt from Coleman’s original Harvard Education Review article, p. 40.) The former bring honor to the entire school, reasoned the University of Chicago sociologist; the latter, only to themselves. Since Coleman, ethnographers have found similar tensions between self-advancement and community integration. Indeed, variants on acting white have been spotted by ethnographers among the Buraku outcasts of Japan, Italian immigrants in Boston’s West End, the Maori of New Zealand, and the British working class, among others.
I'd never heard that analysis before! Cool. Of course, this tells me we need lots more Math Leagues, Math Counts, Math Olympiads, Academic Decathlons & what have you. Give the brainy kids a way to spread the glory.
next question I wonder if my subscription to EDUCATION NEXT will ever go through. I have now subscribed to ED NEXT online, and again over the phone. Still no sign of it. Do singing telegrams still exist?
answer: yes, they do.
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Do singing telegrams still exist? Yes! And I was a singing waitress in college! -- CarolynJohnston - 17 Nov 2005
you're kidding -- CatherineJohnson - 17 Nov 2005
oh that's right! you said you had a good voice! -- CatherineJohnson - 17 Nov 2005
Yes, and someone gave me a job as a singing waitress. Good singer: lousy waitress. -- CarolynJohnston - 18 Nov 2005
Yes, but did you get to wear a saucy wench costume? That is the true measure of singing waitress quality. -- SusanS - 18 Nov 2005
I'm with Susan. Saucy wench is the Key Metric here. -- CatherineJohnson - 19 Nov 2005
I did get to wear a Saucy Wench costume! It didn't do me much good though, I still had lousy tips. I'm really a lousy waitress. -- CarolynJohnston - 19 Nov 2005
Oh, it probably wasn't you. Maybe if you had your fishnets on with the seam in the back. The best ones are when you have huge parties and you're sending down platters and platters of whatever, and dropping pitchers and pitchers of beer so that the group gets really sloshed. Then they feel guilty because they don't realize that the tip has already been added on to the bill so they pass a bowl around and throw money in it. You may have lost your dignity, but the rent is covered. Fine dining requires too much tipping out, plus you have to sing an aria or something more difficult than at the rowdy place. Uh, not that I would know a thing about such things... -- SusanS - 19 Nov 2005
yeah, i was just wondering about that Susan seems to be a Fount of Information on the subject hmmmmmmm -- CatherineJohnson - 19 Nov 2005
I think I, uh, once visited a place like that. In another life, maybe. -- SusanS - 19 Nov 2005
or in a parallel universe that happens sometimes -- CatherineJohnson - 19 Nov 2005
Well, I'm not ashamed to have been a singing waitress (or a Saucy Wenchess). It makes great party conversation, especially since it's so at odds with my current persona. Sounds like Susan could give me some lessons though (I don't know any arias...) (Wait!... I do know a few snippets from "Don't Cry for me, Argentina"...) -- CarolynJohnston - 19 Nov 2005