Wow, Fifty Clams

11 09 2019


This is the kind of story I would not discuss beyond a quick mention on my social sites (Minds, Gab, and for now, Twitter), but this has a St. Louis angle:

Boston is giving every public school kindergartner $50 to promote saving for college or career training

That $50 will come very much in handy when they’re trying to fund whatever Harvard tuition will be in 2032.

I’ll skip ahead to the St. Louis angle:

The city-wide program aims to provide broader access to college and careers for Boston families and to create a culture where students begin preparing earlier for life beyond high school. City officials cited a 2013 Washington University in St. Louis study that found that a child from a low-to-moderate-income home with at least $499 in their account before reaching college age “is more than four times more likely to enroll in college than a child with no savings account.”

And nobody on Hilltop yelled “correlation causation problems” before putting the school seal on that research? They’re selling you on the notion that the bank account is the cause and going to college is the effect. I’m here to break it to you that the parents of children in “low to moderate income” households who would take the initiative to do at least a little bit of saving for college, even if $499 is a pittance, are probably intelligent enough to have produced children intelligent enough either to be accepted into a college with admissions standards, or at least want to start out at an open admissions institution like a junior or community college.

Alas, no. Hilltop peddles this stupid research, and this begs the equally brainless politicians into enacting boondoggles like these.

And in 25 years, when the program turns out to be a failure, and the original WU research will be shown to have “methodological problems,” nobody will be held accountable, because democracy.




4 responses

11 09 2019

I skimmed over the WU paper, linked to in the CNN article.

One line in it better demonstrates my point than the mentality which begat this program.

It’s this line:

[A low-to-moderate household income] child with school savings of $1 to $499 before reaching college age is more than four times more likely to enroll in college than a child with no savings account.

So it’s not “at least $499” in their college nest egg, it’s anywhere between $1 and $499.

You go off to college with that big time buck in your previous savings account rolled out to a checking account. You couldn’t even get something off the McBellcurve dollar menu, because you’d need more change for the sales tax.

Here’s how to think about this $1 issue:


You know when you’re watching “The Price Is Right” — And the four contestants along the front row are guessing the price of the item. After three of them have said their guess, the fourth person says an amount that’s $1 more than the highest guess of the previous three. All that means is that the last contestant to guess believes that all of the previous three have underbid by far.

Now, apply that to this: If you have only $1 in your college fund, it means that it’s not the actual amount that’s relevant and germane to legitimate social science research, it’s the mere fact that you even have a college fund to begin with. And if you have a college fund at all, it means at least one of your parents set you up with one. And if at least one of your parents set you up with one, it means you’re the one generation removed direct descendant of someone with at least sufficient forward planning and future time orientation. Which means you yourself probably have a few brain cells to rub together. Which in turn means you’ll probably be going to some sort of tertiary educational institution yourself.

It also means that merely giving every five-year old a college savings account is a cargo cult mentality. It will not mean that those who would otherwise not be given a savings account are more likely to go to college now that a non-parent has started one for them.

11 09 2019
11 09 2019
Alright Dan

Just as that same school is dealing with a whole bunch of black robberies to its students close to campus.

18 09 2019

They should check up every week and see how many kids still have the $50. I’m sure it’s a downward trajectory on the graph.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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