women, minorities and Science

Robbin L. G. Long c638414 at mizzou1.missouri.edu
Mon Apr 15 19:28:13 EST 1996

JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU ("Julia Frugoli") wrote:

>there's little boxed insert on a factor we in the US don't like to talk 
>about that may be more important than race or gender-social class.  
>According to one researcher, the level of education of a person's 
>parents is the best predictor of academic success. I can think of many 
>exceptions off the bat, but that doesn't mean as a general rule it isn't 
>true. Thoughts?

Although I am sure you will be deluged with messaged from 
"exceptions" like myself, I could not resist.  Neither of 
my parents have any education higher than high school, and 
my mother barely graduated that, marrying shortly after.  I 
wonder if more educated parents are simply more supportive 
of higher education as a rule (or simply take it for 
granted that the children will go to college, and that 
imprints on the kid); if lesser educated parents showed the 
same level of encouragement and placed the same importance 
on education, if the success rate would be the same?

This is a significantly more difficult thing to test than 
simply correlating parental educational level with 
offspring academic success.  What was the educational level 
of the grandparents? I'm willing to lay even odds that it 
was not as high as _their_ offspring. So if we use our 
parents as role models in the strictest sense of the word, 
where did that first educational impetus arise, or are we 
all descended from a group of "exceptions"?

I come from a working class immigrant part of the country 
where a high value was placed on education by parents who 
had no opportunity for it themselves.  Hence, amongst my 
peers, we are almost all more educated than our parents.  
So, do we rely on our parents soley as role models, or as 

I am always dubious of correlative studies like this, 
simply because there are so many variables that _are_ 
harder to quantify, and that, rightly or wrongly, get 
ignored.  Believe me, I understand why they do - how do you 
get an objective measure of parental encouragement?!  
Incidently, I am also the product of a "broken home", thus 
according to  Dan Quayle (Lord give me one clean head 
shot!) I will not do as well as my peers. So I guess I have 
only one strike left till I'm out!

I'm not saying there are no well designed studies out 
there, but, I have to agree with Twain on this one; "There 
are lies, damned lies, and statistics."


  "Women who think they are equal to men, lack ambition."

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