Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is challenging Wendy Davis for Governor of Texas, unveiled an education reform plan this week that cites Charles Murray as a basis.
The citation comes in the second paragraph of the introduction of the education proposal.
“Family background has the most decisive effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle-class homes,” the sentence read. It’s accompanied by the footnote “Murray, Charles. Read [sic] Education. New York: Crown Forum, 2008.”
Being economically-disadvantaged does contribute to a performance gap, but Murray, author of The Bell Curve, is hardly someone you want to cite while speaking of “family background” and performance.
Murray’s 2008 book that Abbott cites, Real Education, argues that students with lower IQ’s are not as educable as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead of sent to college. He estimates that only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are capable of doing college-level work.
“Family background” and IQ has the most decisive effect on student achievement? That wouldn’t be a eugenicist argument in disguise would it?
Then again, Abbot’s plan would only exacerbate the problem. Under his plan, funds would be distributed based on performance rather than need. So if your child’s school is not a bastion of scholarly achievement, I suppose you’re out of luck. Those funds will be distributed to programs that are already doing well.
Abbot is also a proponent of the $200 million cut to the state’s Pre-K grant program, making it even more difficult to believe that Abbot is actually interested in helping those who need it the most.
Are we getting warm?
The Abbot campaign clearly wasn’t paying attention when House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) cited Charles Murray while denouncing “generations” of lazy inner city men who have no work ethic. Or maybe they were.
I’m not sure how many parents would take kindly to being told their children don’t deserve a shot at a college education, and if Charles Murray had his way only “10 to 20 percent” would make the cut.