[QUESTION]For white kids, good enough is good enough.
School quality and human capital ARE major issues for all Americans. But we all know that some schools are failing. What can the typical parent do for their child other than attempt to home school?
Some schools are better than others. For many parents, however, this is not worth worrying about. For example, I never worried much about my kids schooling. I told them that teaching is hard, many teachers are mediocre at best, and they should try to get something out of badly taught classes as well as inspiring ones. The evidence suggests that’s a reasonable approach for children in educated families like mine. I worry most about the children of teen mothers, from families where there isn’t much adult supervision, little in the way of role models, and little hope for a middle class life. In this situation, a good school can make a huge difference.
An Interview with Josh Angrist: School Quality - Who Decides?
My first reaction was exasperation. Don't worry, be happy doesn't cut it, and I am in a position to know. I am the parent of a (white) college freshman, and I teach (some) white college freshman as well as black and Hispanic students. None of them -- black, white, or brown -- are where they should be, and Ed, who occasionally teaches (mostly white) freshmen at NYU, will tell you the same.
Maybe "the evidence" used to "suggest" that graduating high school as a white 18-year old with mediocre skills was "a reasonable approach," but this interview was published just 9 months ago, and things are different now.
See, e.g., the Hamilton Jobs Gap calculator. If the economy continues to create 155,000 jobs per month, which has been the rate for the past two years, full employment does not return until after 2025. At that point today's college freshmen will be 31 years old and will have spent their first decade of employment in a buyer's market for labor. In a buyers' market, employers have more applicants than they can sort through and, often, no real need to hire if they can't find a purple squirrel.
See Urban Dictionary for the expression that covers that situation.
"Never worrying much" about your kids' schooling is a luxury white parents no longer enjoy, along with all those other luxuries that disappeared when household wealth fell by 40% in 3 years time. Assuming Angrist is right about what parents "can do" (nothing) and I'm sure he is, then homeschooling is the answer.
That was my first reaction.
My second reaction was: jeeeeeezzz.
"...many teachers are mediocre at best..."
"...the children of teen mothers, from families where there isn’t much adult supervision, little in the way of role models..."
In one short paragraph, he's managed to insult both teachers and a fair share of minority parents, while dismissing afterschoolers and math warriors out of hand.
Pretty efficient, I'd say.