Let the cream rise to the top

I think most of you here at Stubykofsky.com are better informed than the average person.

I don’t say that to flatter you, but because I believe it to be true. I don’t write for the lowest common denominator.

San Francisco: Scene of the educational crime

So you probably know that in some areas of what passes for “thought, ” the concept of merit is considered racist, a reflection of white supremacy.

In San Francisco, the school board has decided that merit-based admission to an elite high school is racist.

It is not the only place in America where the concept of merit is under attack.

In New York City, dim-wit Mayor Bill de Blasio decided the entrance exam to top-rated Stuyvesant High School must be racist. Coincidentally(?), he latched onto this idea after his Black son couldn’t get in. 

And so many Asians did get into Stuyvesant. Too many, you might say. There must be something wrong.

De Blasio would create “equity” and “diversity” by admitting students who can’t pass the entrance exam, mostly people of color, disregarding that Asians are themselves POC. I guess yellow is too close to white.

When you admit students who aren’t as bright as their peers, one of two things will happen:

1- The under-qualified students fall by the wayside, fail, and eventually drop out or get thrown out.

2- Worse, the demands for excellence are reduced, watering them down to the lowest common denominator. That assures that what was once a superior school gets “equalized” to a mediocre school, which is bad for the students and bad for America. What kind of a nation volunteers to dumb itself down?

It happens I speak from experience. In 1955, I entered Stuyvesant High School, which was then about 60% Jewish. Today, it is about 60% Asian. These teenagers are among the smartest in America, the ones who will keep up competitive in science and technology.

The school was elite then, and it is elite now — concentrating on the sciences. It was a source of pride to the city, and no one was complaining about the race or religion of the superior students, who earned their admission. Families bragged when their kids were admitted.

Stuyvesant was so strong in the sciences that I didn’t do well. I mean, look what I wound up doing for a living. 

Mostly, I didn’t apply myself. I didn’t work hard enough. It was the first time I was in a school with kids as smart as I, or smarter, and I caved.

Rather than compete, I cut school and played pool. When I did attend, I acted up in class. It was my Rebel Without a Cause period.

At the end of my senior year, I hadn’t competed the required credits — I was lacking physics, which was required — and I was kicked out.

I had to finish up at Brooklyn’s New Utrecht High School — at night.

I had no one to blame but myself. I couldn’t blame it on anti-Semitism or anything else. It was on me. 

Unlike today, when almost every failure seems to have a scapegoat in the sidecar.

I got into college, night school again, and learned to compete. (Actually, college wasn’t as hard as Stuyvesant.)

I wasted the education that Stuyvesant offered me, but I’m still proud I attended — and thanks to the help of a sympathetic grade adviser — got a Stuyvesant diploma with my name on it.

To the enablers of the moronic idea that merit attaches to a particular race, and would mix and match to achieve a manufactured result, I say this:

When the NBA and NFL start hiring short, white guys in the pursuit of diversity and equity, then come talk to me about admitting dumb kids to elite schools. 

22 thoughts on “Let the cream rise to the top”

  1. still HAPPY FRIDAY !!!
    As usual, you are “spot on”, as the say’n’ goes. But naturally, I wouldn’t stop there. That same mind thought is prevalent everywhere since the federal government started FORCING equal rights on everyone back in the ’60s. True. People were held down / held back for every reason out there. And if there wasn’t a reason, then make one up. I would say that just about any career to be had was impossible for minorities and strangers to get an opportunity. The building trades were predominately “blood”. You did not get into any local unless you were related. Then comes along Uncle Sam and all hell breaks loose. By demanding entry, unqualified people were brought in across the board. Quality of work suffered. Think back to Osage Avenue. See if you can dig up the truth on that debacle ! Eventually, things worked out. I believe that it was all for the better and everyone’s life eventually improved.
    A short note: I could have played in the ‘Wizard of Oz’, or been a smurf. In other words, Would you pay big bucks to see me go (up) against a Jim Runyan, or one of those other 300 pound giants, playing in the NFL ?

  2. Considering your age you might not remember but the Brooklyn College School of General Studies (which, by the way, we both attended) had entrance standards as well. They tried open enrollment and it failed big time.

    1. The way I remember it was there was no entrance requirements, otherwise I would not have been admitted. My recollection was admittance was based on your high school GPA. If it was high enough, you went to day school, free tuition. If it were not, you went to night school,and paid tuition until you had a C average.

  3. I totally agree with your points and always wondered if there was a league for basketball players under 5 foot 10 could it survive. I prefer using someone more versed on the subject to make similar reasons why your remarks are on point. Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has always been a contributor to commons sense and in this case, strengthens your argument.
    “Heather sums up in her book Diversity Delusion where she states that America is in crisis, from the university to the workplace. Toxic ideas first spread by higher education have undermined humanistic values, fueled intolerance, and widened divisions in our larger culture. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton? Oppressive. American history? Tyranny. Professors correcting grammar and spelling, or employers hiring by merit? Racist and sexist. Students emerge into the working world believing that human beings are defined by their skin color, gender, and sexual preference and that oppression based on these characteristics is the American experience. Speech that challenges these campus orthodoxies is silenced with brute force.

    “She further argues that the root of this problem is the belief in America’s endemic racism and sexism, a belief that has engendered a metastasizing diversity bureaucracy in society and academia. Diversity commissars denounce meritocratic standards as discriminatory, enforce hiring quotas, and teach students and adults alike to think of themselves as perpetual victims. From #MeToo mania that blurs flirtations with criminal acts, to implicit bias and diversity compliance training that sees racism in every interaction. We are creating a nation of narrowed minds, primed for grievance, and that we are putting our competitive edge at risk.

    But there is hope in the works of authors, composers, and artists who have long inspired the best in us. Compiling the author’s decades of research and writing on the subject, The Diversity Delusion calls for a return to the classical liberal pursuits of open-minded inquiry and expression, by which everyone can discover a common humanity.” I could have stated it better but I took today off.

      1. The closest would have been a favorite Bob Cousy who looked smaller but was 6 foot 1. Muggsy Bogues was the smallest ever at 5 foot 3″ tall. Could not watch the WNBA but based on today’s inclusion rules there should be one in the NBA soon.

  4. I am one of those dinosaurs who reads several physical newspapers a day, so I am very much aware of Mayor DiBlazio’s efforts to “diversify” New York’s elite public schools.
    They’re called “elite” for a reason.

      1. Let me put this in a Philadelphia native public-school perspective.
        I was a mediocre high school student. Math and chemistry were mysteries I could never solve.
        It never crossed my mind to apply for admittance to Masterman or Girls High School.
        (This was long before Central went co-ed). I knew that I could never compete at that level).
        I do not, in any way feel deprived.

  5. I am proud to say I attended Stuyvesant High School. My education was top notch. The skills I learned e.g. in English class have carried me through my college life and my career. I will always be thankful to teachers such as Mr Rothenberg who taught me how to write a memo and other things such as where to put an apostrophe. How can anyone forget Mr Lieberman (shaky Jake) for chemistry. I was the only one from my junior high school who passed the entrance exam. I remember my mom crying when I told her I passed the exam. What deBlasio did was to once again lower standards. Additionally, the education being taught today is very one sided. Opposing opinions are no longer welcome. I am attaching a U Tube interview of a mother standing up for her child’s rights. A friend of mine has a grandson that she literally cannot speak her opinions to as they are so different from what is being taught to 10 year olds.

  6. Absolutely loved the line where you say:
    Unlike today, when almost every failure seems to have a scapegoat in the sidecar.

    If it was original, kudos to you. I know I will want to use it myself, but will correctly attribute it to your blog.

  7. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    The aim seems to be to diminish the role of “insider advantage,” and advantages derived from family connections, upbringing and related factors. In U.S. history, the graduates of the most prestigious universities have, as a matter of fact, always enjoyed the advantages of “insider” status and elaborate connections. Read the histories closely and see who went to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc. –and the subsequent jobs they got.

    Consider, say, even the radical Lincoln Steffens. He was able to study extensively in Europe, Germany, France and England, as I recall; and his father paid the bills. Their family home in California eventually became the state Governor’s Mansion. After Europe, Steffens quickly got a newspaper, crime reporting job with a prominent NYC paper. Then, by luck, he met up with the New City Police Commissioner–Teddy Roosevelt. Later he would be invited for lunch to the White House. I’d hate to tell you what happen to some of the local reporters who filled Steffens in on corruption in their cities.

    But on the recent reports, one is left to wonder if the attack on “merit” (and on behalf of “equity”) does not aim to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As often as not, the result seems to be a partisan take over of elite institutions. Is it all a matter of who controls and gets the plum jobs –a debate among elites? That seems to be the way it all started in the universities.

    H.G. Callaway

      1. Philadelphia, PA

        Dear Stu,

        I wish it were true, but it simply isn’t. The admissions folks tend to know which side of the bread is buttered and act accordingly. They know, for instance, who’s who in the institution and what the higher administration would like to see by way of prestigious connections.

        Morally, it’s the institutional-insider equivalent of finance’s “insider trading.” Or, in politics its sometimes called “honest (or legal) graft.”

        H.G. Callaway

        you wrote:
        It seems to me admission based on entrance exams eliminates insider advantage.

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