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  • GS

    The Bell Curve was published 22 years ago, but its contents [no less true for the passage of time] hit a cognitive block with those who would benefit the most from comprehending it. There are no known ways to improve cognition. Over the last 5000 years of known history the best that mankind has come with produces a pretty drab impression. Were it possible, it would have been done long ago. Until and unless we learn how to re-write an individual’s genome, we are stuck. The best we could do till then is streaming, aka cognitive segregation.

    • JR

      While I agree that you just can’t cure stupid, I think an effort can and should be made to reach those youngsters in struggling communities like Detroit that want to learn. Not the brightest will have perfectly good careers as electricians or low-level accountants while the brightest go on to become neurosurgeons. It’s just that feeding the beast of public unions is not the best way to get to that outcome.

      • GS

        Read again: If it were possible, it would have been done long ago. Whatever the mankind could have thought up, has been tried – and failed. Unless and until we learn how to re-wire a human brain and what to re-wire in it [this task lies far beyond the current horizon – it might become possible in several generations, but not earlier – and I used to work in genetic engineering], what we have is wishful thinking and wasteful daydreaming. All such should be soundly beaten with magic wands, as a condign punishment.

        • JR

          We still need to find a way for the dummies to contribute to society in some way. I just wish I knew how given the increased level of technical aptitude required for everything these days.

          • GS

            Welcome to the club. And here, too, if it were possible to do, it would have been done long ago. By the way, it will only get worse. An old technique was sending them to some war as a cannon fodder.

          • JR

            So what you are saying is that we are effed. I just hope to be in my 6 foot under bunker when the defecation hits the oscillation. Let my progeny deal with the mess I created!!!

          • GS

            So? Do what works, where you can do it. I am not a professional teacher, my educational activities are limited to private tutoring and consulting. I have also translated some extremely good educational materials into English, for the benefit of the Tiger and Jewish Moms and the homeschooling-minded people. All my activities are strictly limited to the Bell Curve right [far right] shoulder. There it works.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Are you familiar with Montaigne’s maxim that parents should evaluate the children at age 10, and if they showed little problem they should either be drowned or apprenticed to a baker?

            Most bread these days is made by machine….what other options do you offer?

      • GS

        You are a hopeless optimist, to be beaten with the magic wands till you cease and desist from your optimism.
        My favorite example goes like this: in his book Charles Murray cited a NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) question for the American 8- graders:
        “Amanda wants to paint each face of a cube a different color. How many colors would she need?”. A multiple choice idiocy, and some 40% of them still got it wrong [and of those who got it right, some got it right by a random guessing]. Say, 50% failure rate. And this exemplifies a question targeted at the median IQ 90 audience. Do you really think that those who for the life of theirs cannot figure out how many sides a cube has could become the “low-level accountants”? Sorry to disappoint you, it is not given to them.
        And here, to complete my example, another question for the 8-graders, from a totally different time and place:
        “Given a common cubic playing dice, 1 to 6 points on each face, how many different arrangements of these points on the dice faces are possible? Two arrangements are considered different if they cannot be interconverted into each other by rotation of the dice as a whole.” Answer: 30, if the orientation of the “2”, “3”, and “6” points on the cube face is disregarded in the determination of arrangements difference, and 240 if it is not. [C2 vs. C4 symmetry of points’ arrangement on the cube face]. No multiple choice was offered, the answer and a proof of it had to be written on a clean sheet of paper. The target audience had the IQ floor of 140, and the success rate was in excess of 80% as to the first half of the answer, and ca. 50% for the second half.
        And all this should merely serve to illustrate another Murray’s thesis: the right-shoulderers [on the Bell Curve] have a cognitive block when considering the limitations of those on the left shoulder. What is obvious for us, may well be [and usually is] incomprehensible for them.

    • johngbarker

      In the Stanford charter school study cited obliquely via Chait, the variance on achievement tests between the charter and control group was between 1/20-to 1/25 of a standard deviation.

      • GS

        These kids are not exactly cognitive titans, are they? And whether one teaches such or not, it would bounce off them with a billiard sound. Teach not the unteachable, cast not your pearls before swine…

        • johngbarker

          I think job specific vocational training might be the best course of action.

          • GS

            No. Were they trainable, they would have been trained by now.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “but that means that sound regulation is necessary”

    Wrong! Let the parents decide what they want for their children, that should be the only criteria. So what if there’s some chaos, the “Feedback of Competition” is far more important than giving the Government Monopoly any say in the system. The Government Bureaucrats killed the Blue Model to begin with, letting them back in is stupid.

    • JR

      I respectfully disagree. I think we do need government intervention in making sure charter schools are being run by accredited professionals and that kids are indeed learning and thriving. However, I would agree with you in not letting the government bureaucrats dictate how kids are taught and who gets promoted and why. The problem isn’t government per se, it’s where and how much of it that’s the problem.

      • f1b0nacc1

        The ‘accredited professionals’ are the ones that created the problem in the first place, and continue to sustain the idiocy that drives it.
        Once you let the government determine who will be running the system, they inevitably end up determining what will be taught in it. The government is in fact the problem, nor could it ever be otherwise.

        • GS

          The error runs much deeper. Everyone has one’s personal limit, beyond which one becomes unteachable [and cast not your pearls before swine]. But some hit their limit with the multiplication table, while the others do not hit theirs even in the MIT postdoctoral program [and everything in between, of course]. At this level, it does not matter whether the school is private or of the government variety. The fundamental error lies in trying to implement the universal education – this model necessarily drags some beyond their educability limits.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Perhaps so (and I don’t necessarily agree, but lets pass on that for a moment), but who gets to make that assessment? It is all well and good to argue that some individuals will or will not benefit from a specific level or type of education, but I am deeply uncomfortable with handing over the power to make those assessments to some self-appointed elite based upon their credentials.
            I don’t have to define the term nomenklatura for you, so I am sure you can understand my concerns here…

          • GS

            This assessment is, or could be, made automatically: everyone starts in an elementary school. And then they could be idukated [spelling intentional] till they hit the wall or run away. As soon as they hit the wall, that should be it for them, and a failure usually is, and certainly could be made, obvious for all to see. Beyond the absolute minimum of elementary school [being able to read the simple texts like the road signs, to sign one’s name, and to count the change], both the educational admission and retention could and should be made competitive.

          • f1b0nacc1

            And you don’t see how such ‘admissions standards’ could be rather easily gamed, particularly by the well-off and well-connected? Look, if you have followed any of my comments here, you know I am hardly an apologist for the liberal claptrap that passes for modern educrat dogma, but you are discussing condemning a very large portion of our fellow citizens to the intellectual dumpster based upon easily manipulated evaluations, and evaluations that would inevitably be monopolized by the same self-appointed elites that already have created such trouble. Perhaps ‘no nomenklatura is needed’, but I am unconvinced that one wouldn’t arise in any case, especially given how high the stakes would inevitably become.

            I was lucky, and blossomed early (I was also supremely fortunate to have been born into a highly supportive family with the right resources and connections to give me a chance to explore my talents), but the most brilliant mind I have ever encountered was an almost textbook case of a ‘late bloomer’, who would have been thrown on the scrap heap in your model. Years later, when I taught at the university level I saw numerous examples of this same type of individual….far too many to dismiss as simply outliers.

            What happens to the children of those that you deny educational resources, are they to pay for the sins of their parents? Do you honestly believe that the children of the elite, no matter how dull or bereft of gifts, will be denied the resources to at least obtain the credentials for their future, if not the substance? This is a quicker and surer road to a statist oligarchy than even the current fools on the Left could dream up if they had the wit to do so.

            I understand what drives your reasoning here, and I respect your desire to make it work. I don’t deny that while we may all be equal in the eyes of God, we are certainly not created equal in all ways and all aspects. With that said, however, there is too much danger in deciding that the pearls of education are too rare to be cast before all of us simply because some (many?) will be swine. The danger of corruption, loss of social mobility, liberty, and ultimately freedom is too grate and too absolute to be dismissed…

          • GS

            In my experience, having well-connected parents does not make one smart, but having the smart parents usually does [80% heritability of IQ is quite a lot]. Of course, the smart parents are usually reasonably well-off, so it correlates. But what I am asking about is not the size of the parents’ net worth or rolodex, but one’s own basic capacity to think.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I understand your point, and don’t dispute the bulk of it, but I think that you are far too optimistic about the resistance of these systems of evaluation to being manipulated by those subject to evaluation. I spent a lot of time in academe, both as a student and as a professor, and I can say without any hesitation that gaming the system is all too common. Worse still, the system can simply be corrupted outright by the powerful and well-connected. A very close friend of mine had the unpleasant experience of instructing a rather famous presidential progeny, and let us say that this young woman’s rather meager intellect was repeatedly ‘excused’ on direct orders of those higher up the academic food change on numerous occasions. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this would be any different in any other system of this type, particularly if the stakes were much higher. Worse still, a system as dependent as you describe on testing would be quite vulnerable to cram schools and the like. I have spent a lot of time working with the results of the Japanese system, and while they are wonderful at taking tests and grinding away at defined tasks, they are less than useless at pretty much anything else that requires even a modicum of intellectual firepower.
            There is no question that a great deal of valuable resources are indeed wasted casting pearls before swine, but in this case I suspect that the cure would be far, far worse than the disease.

          • GS

            To cram schools it is impervious. Try to cram them to that level, and I would look at you. If it were possible to do, it would have been done long ago.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Regarding the relative value of cram schools: I can only suggest that you haven’t spent a lot of time at the teaching level in academe (more power to you!), particularly at the more prestigious schools. I have, and that sort of thing goes on all the time. You can train someone to pass a test, whether or not they truly understand (or master) the material that the test is designed to evaluate.
            You are correct that there are few presidential daughters (fewer still would be a blessing!), but there are any number of scions of the wealthy and powerful, or simply the well-connected whose parents wants what is best for them, and will do anything to make that happen. I personally was witness to this sort of thing play itself out where the parent driving the corruption (and it was nothing less than that) was merely a university administrator calling in favors. The higher the stakes (and your phrase ‘ferocious meritocracy’ suggests that the stakes would be very, very high indeed), the greater the incentive to do anything possible to game the system.
            I am a big believer in a meritocracy, but I don’t share your absolutism on this. I understand your motivation, but as I have said before, the cure is worse than the disease.
            We are talking past one another, and there is no reason for that. Last reply goes to you, then let us agree to disagree?

          • GS

            I’m afraid I have not made myself clear. The exam is usually done in the oral format, one-on-one, and the examinee has to think aloud, while the examiner is looking for the holes in that thinking, and is pouncing on them. Or it would be written [no multiple choice], a set of heavy-duty brainteasers. I have seen (and taken) exams both in a foreign and the American format. I have seen the level of exams at Princeton – and I would jack up the requirements many-fold. It has to be made hard [but doable] for IQ 160 (try to cram them for that, if you can). A total opposite of “dumbing down”.

    • Tom

      The problem, as per usual, is that the government checks inputs instead of outputs when it comes to education.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Is TAI falling onto the “liberal wagon”? The words, “non-profit, teacher-owned and teacher-managed”” are impressive here. So is the apparent acknowledgement that a LOT of the noise about charters in the past has been for the purpose of corporations and administrators making a buck (with essentially temp teachers).

  • johngbarker

    Another government sponsored rip off. What’s new?

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