Wednesday, November 12, 2008

To improve the educational achievement of blacks, get them away from other blacks: My hunch is that blacks stay in school longer in communities with few blacks. Poor black communities generate anti-education subcultures where serious students are ridiculued for "acting white" (implying that white=smart).

Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the association between percent black and the difference between the white and black mean years of school across the survey's nine regions. You might assume I would simply look at the relationship between the black share of the population and their mean educational levels, but the problem is that there are fewer blacks in the North, and all races are smarter in that region compared to the South.

To adjust for this, I'm looking to see if the black-white gap shrinks in regions with fewer blacks. The Pearson correlation is .52. In other words, blacks get closer to white levels in places with smaller black populations. For example, the black-white gap is smallest in the Mountain States, the region that has the smallest percentage of African Americans--2.2%.

(Of course, this whole post is premised on the idea that it's good for blacks to stay in school. As you've seen in other posts, some people stay in school too long.)

Black-white differences in glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive condition caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is the leading cause of irreversible bl...