Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Education For Dummies

I was referred to this site by djomama's website which references another great article, but being that my passion is education this article appealed to me even more-plus it's today's.

Shakespeare is irrelevant. More accurately, Shakespeare is irrelevant to anyone who believes that he is irrelevant. You do not get a federal job by knowing Chaucer, or having heard of Chaucer. Those forced to study writers, or philosophy, or history they don’t want to study will gain nothing. Those who do want to study them lose much, because the courses will often be of sufficiently little rigor as not to oppress the bored ... The public schools, say some, have failed to such a degree as to make their continuance rationally unjustifiable. Yes, they fail, but why? To some extent it is because they are expected to do what cannot be done—to educate the uneducable. For reasons of dizzy idealism, we pretend that all students have the wit to learn. Thus we suffer high-sounding programs like No Child Left Behind. You cannot ensure that no child will be left behind. You can try to ensure that no child will get ahead. To this we incline.
As in the universities, the difficulty is that we refuse to separate the able from the rest, yet insist on attempting to teach to the uninterested things that they do not want to know.

A wise course, and therefore one impossible of realization, might be to recognize that schooling is inherently hierarchical and not susceptible to populist leveling. A beginning would be to make all study voluntary beyond, say, the sixth or eighth grade. By then all would have learned to read who were ever going to learn. Below the university level, private schools unregulated by government are the only way to let people study the subjects they choose at the level of rigor that they want. Freedom from federal intrusion is crucial. Nothing else can prevent resentful minorities from imposing invertebrate standards on all.



Absolutely Fred, I agree. Although I wish that all schooling was free because it's desperately hard to afford it, you get what you pay for. Also, by reducing the huge burden of schools on taxation, more money would be available privately, and schools could offer all sorts of incentives and scholarships to attract bright students to their schools.

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