Thursday, May 08, 2008

"...Where Every Child Is Above Average..."

Well, that landis not YOUR land...nor mine. Dreher quotes Charles Murray:

The good news is that educational romanticism is surely teetering on the edge of collapse. I am optimistic for three reasons. First, the data keep piling up. It takes a while for empiricism to discredit cherished beliefs, but No Child Left Behind may prove to have done us a favor by putting so much emphasis on test scores and thereby focusing attention on how hard it is to budge those scores. Second, we no longer live in a romantic age. Educational romanticism was born of forces that have lost most of their power, and fa├žades collapse when the motives for maintaining those fa├žades weaken. Third, hardly anybody really believes in educational romanticism even now. No one but the most starry-eyed denies in private the reality of differences in intellectual ability that we are powerless to change with K-12 education. People are unwilling to talk about those differences in public, but it is a classic emperor’s-clothes scenario waiting for someone to point out the obvious...

...The fourth-grader who has trouble sounding out simple words and his classmate who is reading A Tale of Two Cities for fun sit in the same classroom day after miserable day, the one so frustrated by tasks he cannot do and the other so bored that both are near tears. The eighth-grader who cannot make sense of algebra but has an almost mystical knack with machines is told to stick with the college prep track, because to be a success in life he must go to college and get a B.A. The senior with terrific SAT scores gets away with turning in rubbish on his term papers because to make special demands on the gifted would be elitist. They are all products of an educational system that cannot make itself talk openly about the implications of diverse educational limits.

The obvious fact (to all except the money-suckers who depend on "education" to make a living, or the "starry-eyed" who are living on a different planet, founded by Rousseau...):

Murray argues that research decisively shows that with the rare exception of the worst urban schools, family environment is the only thing that really moves test scores one way or another. Otherwise, they're fairly fixed.

Dreher natters on about meritocracy, aristocracy, and "what to do about this."

For openers, we could acknowledge that ALL work, honorably done, is good.

...It is surely better to live in truth than dwell in the therapeutic fiction that all kids are capable of being above average in school, or that everyone should go to college...

1 comment:

Billiam said...

Dad! Thou speakest blasphemy! ALL children MUST be allowed to go to college! They are ALL capable of a college degree. Even if it's in something useless, at least they'll have a puffed up opinion of themselves because they got a degree. It may be worthless, and may not help them one whit in the real world, but they'll feel good about themselves. Even as I show them how to figure out the tax on my meal at McDonalds when the register is down.