A Black Conservative vs. a White Marxist on Education

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

You decide which of the two is right. 

Roland Fryer, a professor of economics at Harvard and a self-identified conservative, believes that student achievement can be boosted by giving K-12 students short-term monetary rewards for showing up on time, paying attention in class, and completing homework.


Fredrik deBoer, a professor with a PhD from Purdue and a self-identified Marxist, believes that increased education spending causes inequality instead of equality, and is thus a failed anti-poverty tool.

Who’s right?

In my opinion, neither. But I’ll provide more information on the two and their theses so you can judge for yourself.


Roland Fryer

Professor Fryer is the author of a 91-page study on the subject of incentives in K-12 schools and recently published a Wall Street Journal commentary based on the study.  The full study can be found at this link:

The study suggests that short-term incentives narrowly applied can have a positive effect on study habits and thus grades. There are two flaws with Fryer’s study, however.


First, it does not establish that financial incentives will be long-lasting. They may be like other interventions, such as early childhood development programs, which have been shown to have diminishing returns in later grades and result in no discernible improvement by the twelfth grade.

The study’s main point is that the incentives might be more cost-effective than other interventions, but without knowing their staying power, it’s possible that they could be a complete waste of money.

Second, practical considerations are not addressed in the study. Can lumbering, hidebound school districts be trusted to administer the incentives with the necessary flexibility? Will schools be accused of discrimination if certain racial/ethnic groups get greater incentives than other groups?  If it is later determined that the incentives don’t have a lasting effect, will the program be ended or become a permanent fixture?

Incidentally, Fryer, a black man, is also the author of two other very controversial studies. One addressed the achievement gap between black and white students, showing that the gap would be nonexistent if it were not for socioeconomic factors. This went against the prevailing orthodoxy that racism explains the gap. 

The other study showed that shootings of blacks by police are not disproportionate to shootings of whites by police when relevant variables are taken into consideration. This study led to attempts by Harvard to cancel him.

An article on these two other studies can be found here.

Fredrik deBoer

Professor deBoer is the author of the following book:

The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice, by Fredrik deBoer, 276 pp, hardcover, $16.79, ISBN-13: 978-1250200372, All Points Books, 2020.

I reviewed the book for the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

A major premise of The Cult of Smart is that intelligence is hereditary and inherited to the same degree across all races. Genes help to explain why some people excel in school and in abstract thinking, and some people don’t. Therefore, ever-increasing spending on education, especially on higher-education, only serves to benefit those who are blessed by hereditary and who would rise to the top of society regardless of spending levels.

As I wrote in my review:

DeBoer is merciless in his criticism of liberals who feign concern for the poor and social justice but engage in selective breeding and do whatever they can to get their kids into the best K-12 schools and into elite universities, so that their ticket is punched for the rest of their life—and, as deBoer’s Marxist thinking goes, at the expense of the less fortunate. He questions whether the education is any better at elite schools, and posits that the schools are key members of the “Cult of the Smart,” where credentialing takes precedence over other considerations and leads to self-reinforcing and self-replicating elitism.

Naturally, being an academic, he buys into the progressive Zeitgeist about white privilege, the goodness of wokeness, and America being racist, sexist, and classist. At the same time, he lambastes his “fellow leftists” (as he calls them) for their phony virtue-signaling. He writes that if they were “simply a new kind of nouveau riche with culturally liberal politics, they would probably be harmless, if somewhat obnoxious. But there’s a far larger problem: simply by living upper-middle-class lives, these woke go-getters perpetuate inequality.”

What is de Boers solution?  It is a political and economic system based on the Marxist principle, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

In Conclusion, Who Is Right?

  •  a) Roland Fryer
  • b) Fredrik deBoer
  • c) Neither
  • d) Both





Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

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