« Revisionist History

Carlos Doesn’t Remember

2016-07-07

Of the tens of thousands of talented, low-income students who graduate from high school every year in the United States, most never make it to universities appropriate to their gifts. America leaves an enormous amount of talent on the table every year. “Carlos Doesn’t Remember” explains why.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Yes, I am a sophomore high school and death high school. You started there in nitrate, now My first year does your first year. Will you, challenging year old school come to revisionist his where every week we re examined something from the mass that's been forgotten or misunderstood. I welcome that this episode is about a young man named Carlos, which is not his real name. I've changed for reasons that will become obvious. We will you board most of the time and what were you doing, you're sitting glass? Well,
I usually finished my class work a lot earlier than the summit. Kids I guess I was a little bored, Carlos his slight, a little shy for his age. Braces thick had a black hair, a good looking kid, but now Oh he wouldn't stand out. If you someone a school bus, it's his manner is distinctive for it. Nature, he's really deliberate thoughtful a little. Cartage in a way that makes him seem much older, He lives in LOS Angeles, is transferred from a massive public high school to an elite private school. I willingly math mass issues. It's not easy basis. Next. The most sense, when he talks about math car, relaxes. He looks happy like math is warmest and safest place. He knows somebody would you say to him after they don't understand it by diesel. Like learning about like the concepts of math and went away,
when I do understand something I feel it just makes it for these very precise It is now our room for air, that's space. That's why I like that is that the subject You get the best created. Will I do get pretty good grades My classes was Stan School. You ever felt it. You didn't understand something or couldn't do something or. Unless I'm gonna arrogant, I think most concepts that I'm tired! I I catch arson pretty quickly, Carlos is a smart kid he's gotten a scholarship to a really good. Private school he's excelling he's not to imagine that one day who go to college of his choice, he's going since this is civilised societies are supposed to do to provide
opportunities for people to make the most of their ability so that, if born poor. You can move up if you work hard, can improve your line when a term for this, illustration. A society's capitalization rate is the percentage of people in any group who are able to reach their potential capitalize on their potential, think, the capitalization rate as one of the single best ways we have to capture how successful and just a society is I know that number I think I have a better handle on how well a country is doing. Then, if I know its gdp or its growth rate or its per capita income and right from the beginning, Americans have told themselves that there really good capitalization, really good its social mobility? Any kid can grow up to be president. That's what supposed to set America, apart from every
else over the course of Next three episodes of revision is history. I to re, evaluate this idea. Go back The question is it true that were good capitalization upcoming, show we're gonna talk about where the money goes in american higher ed, I'm gonna, take you to small college in South Jersey and asked the question is system geared to serve the poor, smart kid or the rich, smart kid in another episode. I'm gonna compared to liberal arts colleges and asked what have and when a school really tries to help someone like Carla's, but this happened it is about Carlos himself, because the story is a little more complicated than it seems actually a lot more complicated
I met Carlos to a man named Eric Eisner and what was your first impression of Mr Eisner speak freely, even though these in the room was rising, candy intimidating, sometimes Eric used to be a big shot, entertainment back in the day he work for David, getting he's a kind of swagger, whereas impeccable Tom Ford Suits anyway he retired in the early nineties, nineties and a few years later started a programme for gifted public school kids in LOS Angeles scald. Yes, he talks to a lot of teachers, looks at test scores identifies the most promising kids tutors them, and Is his connections to get them into private schools? He's been doing it, for nearly twenty years? A couple hundreds? didn't, have passed through yes and have gone on graduate from some the top universities in the country, Carlos, is one of his kids,
color was in fifth grade Eric got him your fancy elementary school in Brentwood. Now several years later, Carlos to meet me at Eric's house in Bel AIR up, one of those winding gorgeous canyon roads from Sunset Boulevard, I'm across the table from Carlos Eric is behind me sitting in an arm chair. That's why His voice is sometimes a little faint Eric asks Carlos to think back to that fancy elementary school in Brentwood. Did he feels soft just going there I did would not be. I was hispanic Eric asks me, It was because colors the poor and the kids were rich? Did that may call us? self conscious, well, nothing about it candidate to flee. I felt like me, I was the only one, not nothing seasons. Eric asks about the episode the sneakers
Carlos, remember that your racist from your memory- I have I he title happened: here's what happened the teachers in Brentwood called out to tell him that Carlos wasn't playing with the other kids at recess. Even though he seemed very engaged with him in the classroom Eric and talk with Carl. And noticed, it is sneakers were about three sizes too big. Bottom shoes, the right size, Annette solved. The problem Jim ever the being now, owing to please forts with the other. It's that that does ring a bell. Vital ruinously years. Eriksson Carlos his sneakers were so big. They curled up like elf shoes, but Carlos says He doesn't remember the sneakers his hat when stem at the beginning that the capitalization story for people like Carlos is complicated, and this is what I mean Carl.
Is a really really gifted kid, but it's on impossible to imagine Carlos making it into the fancy school without Eric. In other words, in order for the system to work for the smart kid make it up the ladder he needs an advocate and not just an ordinary advocate a high powered guy with lots of connections, who can get you in and watch over you and make sure you get new sneakers, because the ones you have crawled up like elf shoes capitalist nation requires an Eric Eisner and how many Eric eyes. Do you think they're out there? Then there is the second complication defined Opportunity Carlos to go to Brentwood forty five minutes up the freeway from where he grew up a wealthy white. Leafy green neighbourhood: the truth is that's where, maternity is in America these days, but you can't just
jump from our colours was from straight to Brentwood and leave your past behind your back comes with you. What were the other students like well, those two issues will be largely you, kids are gonna, be and so they went to different alchemy any Suke Gooey second year nervous Two years ago, two prominent economists, Caroline Hawksbill Stamford, increase Avery of Harvard published a really important. Recalled the missing one offs hawksbill knavery startup talking about something that happened ten years ago, That's when some of the elite? U S, colleges, the Harvard him instance of the World- announced that they give free tuition to any deserving student. Who came from the bottom of the economic ladder at the time the cut off
family income of forty thousand dollars a year now at sixty five thousand, in other words a poor kid is smart enough to get in. She can attend for free. And what happens after the elite schools make this announcement not much to use, harbours an example they ended up. Take in about an additional fifteen or so low income students a year after changing policies that state of affairs, when class of more than sixteen hundred it's a drop in the bucket. Let me quote directly from the paper now because this is a crucial point. Trustingly, this very modest effect was not a surprise to many college admission staff. They saying that there was a small pool of low income high, achieving students who already fully tapped so that a dish no aid and recruiting Do little except shift them among institutions that were fairly similar, in other words
the admissions officers felt they had gone out of their way to look for these kinds of kids, they made so sure visits to high schools with lots of poor students that sent outlet two kids with high test scores living in bad neighborhoods. They had built a network guidance councillors, they sponsored free, as visits for low income students, and I, tuition free, but if you do all those things- and you only get an extra fifteen smart, poor kids a year at Harvard that must mean that their aren't alot of poor smart kids out there they're talking about Carlos theirs kids like Carlos, are pretty rare, Hucks being Avery, decide to fact check this. Is it true? They go to the college boarding get the entire database of college test scores as eighty and eighty two. They take those scores and match each or to a high school and a neighborhood and zip code and too
They could find about waited student comes from and they end up with a giant map. Every high, achieving low income Highschool Senior in the country and here's what Huxley every discover the admission. Officers, are totally wrong. Actually, There are a huge number of poor smart kids in the United States, there's probably thirty. Five thousand students a year whose skill? in the ninety percent or above on there s eighties and who also come from families living on less than forty thousand dollars a year keep in mind. These are kids who don't have tutors, who don't go to high school with a million advanced placement courses, and you probably took the test once two or three times a copper middle class gets so these We are on the low side. These are who could Acer test in one shot Eric Eyes, New started. Yes, almost
twenty years ago, had an l, a middle school in a place called Lennox, which is small, heavily hispanic community about twenty thousand people hollowed out in the middle of LOS Angeles, Roy across the four or five freeway familiar x. I mean right across you can practice. He touched the planes as they take off and land The median household income in Lennox is thirty, seven thousand dollars a year. It's not! good neighbourhood. Lennox School has six hundred kids progressive the classrooms. Are they stand alone wooden in cinder block huts? upon row of them there, putting windows and at last year tiny little windows high on them all fence around the outside guard in a hard at the gate,
is to come across the wrong way, but Lennox look a concentration camp when I was there a police cruiser drove slowly back and forth between the long rows of hearts and next time, principal's office. There are what looked like six narrow, closets, solitary, can find themselves with a stir. She until the cops come. Remember This is a middle school. You gotta it's like Linux, and you can't feeling hopeless, as bad as allies gets, but right from the beginning, when he came there. Looking for bright kids, Eric Eisner hit paid her, I'm it's about the idea. You can go to fairly randomly selected middle School in a decent and its neighbourhood in a major I and rely we find every year a handful I'm really really really gifted kids. Why? I shouldn't yeah,
it varies even within the school from year to year. You never know what kind of crop it big it's a little like wine, but some years it's very there very few sometimes one or more or none but another years, you'll they'll be five of them. There is, you know it's it. It's it's not like you looking for a needle in a haystack, it's not like you're looking for a needle in a haystack there's a tonne of talent out there There are so many smart, poor kids. Why aren't they showing up places like Harvard the Researchers Avery Knox, be find that a good chunk of the thirty five thousand high achievers? Don't even so much as apply look at school, that's crazy right. Most selective schools are practically free for new skills and elites goes cheaper than the local state college down the street. Importantly. These Are really smart. Kids were not talking
but some mediocre student Listen to Nelly College because he's a great football player for his dad built new dorm, being way over his head, we're talking, KIDS, like Carlos close concepts. I'm tired, I catch arson pretty quickly. Parrot things System can find kids that Carlos, because it's true looking much too late. The emissions officers are sending out the letters to high school juniors. Seventeen year olds kidding me in Lennox Eric says you have to start fun Miss markets in the fourth grade: that's because They may not even show up later. It's like any muscle. It atrophies and then the time the boy girl thin happens. That hasn't been encourage that excitement of being smart. It it goes away. It goes away because when the struggle a hit them of going to any kind of
challenging college. They don't have the cleats for that anymore. They don't have those hiking shoes at a more there, just not accustomed to it. So what was happening before Yes, shows up at the school or schools, where there is no no looking out for the promising fourth greater, what to those kids well and we came here they discouraged from waiting until the eighth grade to meet with the boys, which is what I wanted to do. They said you can't wait that long, because percent of those boys get gang affiliated by the eighth grade, eighty percent, gone by the eighth grade then comes Highschool, but is no high school lennox. The kids Lennox have to go one town over to Hawthorn and that crossing gang lines. Remedies autistic at Hoxby, Avery came up with
The total number of smart, poor kids its low numbers base in a pool of high school seniors who took either the AC tea or the s. Eighty solution in their pool of thirty five thousand posts markets. You had to have made, all the way to the end of high school and take one of the standardize tests, Erics point Is it a good number of high achievers in places like Linux? Never even get that far. What's capitalization Maiden Lennox, if you have to cross, a gang line to get dies. I think we have an ideology about talent says the talent is a tangible, resilient, hard and shiny thing. Evil rise to the top and defined and encourage child. All you have to do as a society is to make sure the right doors are free, campus visits, free tuition, letters, kids with high scores? That's it
ideology. The admissions officer you raise your hand and say over here and a talent will come running, but that's not true in Lennox is not resilient and shiny, letting smells talent is really really fragile. Pride that comes with being able to talk, confidently unintelligently about a subject and feel it truly you're standing? That's what the great courses plus is all about. With this streaming service, you have the freedom to learn more about virtually any topic and not just get the Bay six, but truly master learn unique perspectives from tough enough. Experts in their fields, there's unlimited access to thousands of lectures on everything from the illuminati black death, nuclear physics, C, B, T and so much more and the best part, with great courses plus there's flexible to watch or listen just about anywhere provisional history. Listeners should check out the sceptics guide to american history. This course questions like
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Carlos, took a long bus ride up the four or five from Lennox to this school. I've Eric for a long time- and I always joke with him organ of his organization. Yes, ought to beat it every LOS Angeles public schoolchild deserves his own jewish entertainment liar. He owes laughs That's what he's been doing for close to twenty years, cutting deals private schools for his yes, kids. So, What is doing really well course he is an exceptional student extra looking for Carlos his next step. He makes some enquiries Carlos gets an offer. A full right scholarship to one of the most exclusive private, high schools in the country. If you kid from a normal middle class, neighbourhood and family you'd say he's all set, but he's not I really want to go to school that In the end, I didn't go by the board. School he is referring to is showed in Central Connecticut, its history. But remember. I said the colonel.
The story gets complicated well here's yet another complication car This has a little sister she's. Also in the room with us, along with Alina Sheriff, who runs ass with Eric we talking about why Carlos couldn't go to up here right, it was a summer before cause was supposed to go to high school, but Eric ass to remind him that there was a lot else, going on other than school do you want to talk about well in the S S great for me, Firstly, it did you catch that he said it really quickly under his breath that phrase again I forgot the Summer Lloyd, eighth grade. Mrs Schreyer, I were put into foster homes. Car and his sister were put into foster homes.
We're leaving away from from my mother. And I just had a bit of an emotional autonomy and I deeply so try at school it. I didn't. Let it. Effect my grades like too much Maybe by now you can understand the strategic value of Carlos is selective memory, because there were a lot of good things happening in his life. Let you use your imagination, it was bad Lennox, bad, not Brentwood bad. Then he says I definitely see tried at school. I did not affect my grades too much things are falling apart, but he and stands and he has one way out, and that is to be great student, not a good one good doesn't get you anywhere a great one, so he puts everything else in a box his to take care of his sister and get good grades,
I spoke with Eric about it later. He took on this burden that the sole above his skill, set of being father, be my husband, be everything and that's why she wouldn't let him go to church when they, I'm a full Scottish through that was this he's talking about is Carlos. His mother you can imagine how frustrating anger that was for me the opportunity of him, going to school like that again and away from all that and her come understandably killing. Because he was taking care of her and that's what he was. What in the eighth grade did say I would have liked to go to boarding school. He definitely want to cut we sort of liquor. Whose, by convincing ourselves that at least
be there for the little sister it's a chaotic time, Carlos his mother, tells him not to go to showed, but stay can take care of her and his sister, then the were taken from their mother become wards of LOS Angeles County growing up your parents and think suddenly taken way. It can't be good and But I guess I guess the hardest part was moving around house how silly is not die. I move to one false room and then stay there for a year now, if I've been waiting for for homes so that for a time he was separated from his little sister How long were you separated for The first classroom didn't like we were ass ever for too long. We we made a point two. Or social workers. To please you will unite us
he's making it sound like it wasn't that much of a big deal it was a big deal. Choke goes away their mother goes away. Now is little sister is taken away and the two of them still bouncing around the foster homes of South delay and made point to our social workers to please reunite us. It was a war. This is Eric again from later, didn't tell you how disastrous these first foster homes were, when you say Yes, what do you mean? Just idiotic I mean it wasn't like. Oh thank God there in this wonderful home for They were. One of five foster kids about this is not let us take you into our home. This is how much are you gonna pay us? How many kids can we write Meanwhile, the mother is roaming around the planet like Beetle Juice- and we have to you know we keep.
Pirate Bay. It was just you know, it was a mess. You know your father I saw of on my father. I we he was. He was absent for a large part of my life. And where is your mother, no. My mother when my mother is, is in prison in Texas, I'll, let you use your imagination again as to why it wasn't an easy thing for a kid tickets to deal with Eric Colleague Billina is sitting quietly in the room she tries to put. In perspective Carlos his mom Alina says, had a difficult I would lose control of her children that may It hard for Eric and Alina to stay involved. Finally, mother tells Eric and on this the phrase Alina uses to detached
selves, the kids, danish for a year and a half and neither nor Lena know whether they will ever see them again that's the deal. Between being privileged in being poured America. It's how many chances you get if you're wealthy. Kinds of things can happen and you'll be ok, you can drop it go for a year. You can get addicted. Pain killers. You can have a bad or accident. No one ever says of the Upper middle class high school kid whose parents get it divorce. I wonder if shall ever go to college she's, going to college disrupt It is not fatal to life chances. A friend of mine was one stop by speeding on the EAST River Drive Manhattan, drunk with a syringe on the dashboard, and what happened? Nothing happened.
To have the kind of brilliant career he deserve to have that's the point, a privilege. Eyes you second chances but if you're from Lennox, even if you're a kid with all the town in the world, you know at the same number of chances. That's why There are at least thirty, five thousand really smart, poor highschool sinews every year in this country and A few of them are making it to the kinds of colleges they deserve, because many things gettin away when I Eric again a few days later? He it's why there are at least was about another Carlos ass. He put it should he got call from an elementary school principle in Lennox. She said I want you to come meet a bunch of fourth graders that I think about standing when I got it
Third boy, I said so tell me about yourself: asks about the little boys father. Where is he is standard question. He always starts with because there are so many absent fathers in that world that that question narrows things down pretty quickly answer, was so peculiar grip, be so fast. Looked at me and he said there was violence, those with very which came out of his mouth and the minute he said it. I would oh, my God, I had this more than a sneaking suspicion. This is the boy who saw his virtually his entire family murdered by a crazy neighbour with who got into a beef with his father. He saw his father killed his older brother killed by have shot gun. He read. Into the house grabbed his little sister they hit under a bed and the guy burned the house still he,
hiding under the bed. While the house was sudden fire his There finally came back. He ran outside to see his mother beaten up. She was in the hospital for months after this, and the police can kill the shock. It was so horrendous and it didn't occur to me that this was a Linux family at I realized I am now talking to this boy B. He is one of the three outstanding boys in the class. We. What was it like, contested deep poised. He was articulate, would said there was violence, the needle move, two hundred and eighty one from while what what an interesting remarkable, articulate confidence kid. You are what, if What should it kid? You are to pull my god. I now think I know the reality of you
even as an eight year old. This kid smart enough to know that meeting Eric was his big chance and that his job, put all the bad stuff aside to put it in a box. That's what these kids! the ones who make it out. They learn from a very early age where the Exeter and they don't let anything, get no way. You see you am getting massacre. How your mother go to prison and you say like Carlos did. I definitely still I did school, I didn't let it affect my great. Too much What happens to Carlos it lucky lucky, but The foster care situation works itself out. He forgets the bad stuff. It's happening. He takes care Sister you re establishes contact with Eric and Billina and they find him another private school not show not a boarding school something closer to home
ever you do don't call this story inspirational, because it's not it's depressing because it says that if you live in Lennox and things go awry, you have to have an error, can only name your corner and be as tough and single minded and one in a million as Carlos is to make it out. That's why the capitalization of talent is such an issue because These are really long on back with Carlos and his sister at Eric Eisenhower's house, Eric to Carlos and asks you feel as if I were you, pessimistic I was really pessimistic. And overwhelms is great word. I guess it's just a lot happening at
and now and then I was back in the public school he was like. So I started right back I from square one. Turns to call us his sister and asks whether She ever worried that her brother had had enough. Would you do if he gave up he's? you do person he was a very optimistic person. She says I You're like he was strong for both of us a lot of the time Carlos is looking straight ahead as she speaking like he doesn't want to cry. Then says it again. I can't even I never thought of him. Honestly. I or thought of him as someone who gives out
why she was never worried about it, you been listing revisionist history Could you ve heard? Do us a favour and waited on Itunes? It helps you get more information about this. Another episodes at revisionist history, dot com or on your favorite podcast
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Transcript generated on 2020-01-12.