Monday, January 30, 2017

Genes and family override egalitarian social policy

This isn't what the blank-slate social engineering people want to hear. From Cognitive development and social policy by Firkowska AN, Ostrowska A, Sokolowska M, Stein Z, Susser M, Wald I. The abstract:
The city of Warsaw was razed at the end of World War II and rebuilt under a socialist government whose policy was to allocate dwellings, schools, and health facilities without regard to social class. Of the 14,238 children born in 1963 and living in Warsaw, 96 percent were given the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test and an arithmetic and a vocabulary test in March to June of 1974. Information was collected on the families of the children, and on characteristics of schools and city districts. Parental occupation and education were used to form a family factor, and the district data were collapsed into two factors, one relating to social marginality, and the other to distance from city center. Analysis showed that the initial assumption of even distribution of family, school, and district attributes was reasonable. Mental performance was unrelated either to school or district factors; it was related to parental occupation and education in a strong and regular gradient. It is concluded that an egalitarian social policy executed over a generation failed to override the association of social and family factors with cognitive development that is characteristic of more traditional industrial societies.
I am reading this to say that a forty year longitudinal study originating in communist Poland, with the presumed expectation that it would prove that social engineering can determine individual outcomes, instead demonstrates that individual outcomes are determined by genetic biology and familial structure/culture and that environment and social engineering were not predictive of outcomes.

That is consistent with much of our US evidence but interesting to see it is consistent across radically different government structures. Calls into question many of our mainstream education and HUD assumptions.

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