Tag Archives: education

Quick Thoughts on Public vs. Private Education

Ideally, I’m in favor of school choice because I believe that competition inherently improves the quality of any service. Unfortunately, there are schools that actively oppose teaching certain subjects on the grounds that it would “offend” their “customers” sensibilities (I’m looking at you, Cobb County, and your idiotic evolution disclaimers as well as nearly every religiously-affiliated school in America). That being said, I am a big proponent of public education at all levels. Education is not about making people feel good by reaffirming their bias; it is about challenging those beliefs in the quest to understand the world. Education is about critical thinking and developing new ideas based on currently documented fact and understanding. Effective public education is a capital investment made by the state to the benefit of all its citizens, but it does not carry a profit motive that can be accurately measured in dollars and cents—which is further obscured because it is amortized over generations! Education is not about grades and standardized testing. It is about people. Education is not about making sure kids get into a good college; it is about making sure those kids can function in modern society while understanding where they came from and how they got to where they are.

Do I believe that there are failing public schools? Yes.
Do I believe that there are public schools that excel at what they do? Absolutely.
How do I propose fixing it? I’m not entirely sure. I have no experience or training in that field. Maybe I should ask Betsy DeVos?

Pass, Fail

Crotchety professor denigrates the modern university institution with an insider’s precision. I saw this happening during my academic career–how I noticed as I went along that the classes tended to be just a rehash of high school with very few challenging subjects. The most obvious offender was Middle Georgia College, who maintained a massive, stonewalling bureaucracy while systematically shutting down funding to the humanities. Even in the aviation school, the faculty seemed to be just biding their time until the golden ticket arrived. The only academic leaders that actually cared about the program were summarily dismissed after only a few semesters (mostly spent trying to overhaul the program and improve its scholastic merits instead of being a perpetual “pilot mill”) while everyone else seemed content to go through the motions that they were comfortable with, passing pupils with only a minimum of understanding, and railroading anyone who challenged the status quo.

An inside look at the retail scam known as the modern university

Source: Pass, Fail

Penn & Teller’s Teller on How to Be an Effective Teacher

I love how even the so-called “left-wing, liberal, mainstream media” is railing against this idiotic mollycoddling of students. Now, I’m no education professional, but I’m pretty sure the best way to get a student to learn is by challenging them along the way.

Teller, of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller, explains how magic and discomfort made his teaching come alive.

Source: Penn & Teller’s Teller on How to Be an Effective Teacher – The Atlantic

Learning Physics Is Tough. Get Used to It

Education should be as much about rewarding the process as it is about punishing the (incorrect) result. Teach students that it is okay to make mistakes instead of relying solely on the graded assessment that takes only the end result into account.

As in much of reality, analog > digital.

There is no shortcut to learning physics. It takes lots of work and difficult times. In the end, it’s worth it.

Source: Learning Physics Is Tough. Get Used to It

How some of America’s most gifted kids wind up in prison

Twice exceptional and low income is a recipe for disaster.

Read the rest

American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist

To become a chef, a lawyer, a philosopher or an engineer, has always been a matter of learning what these professionals do, how and why they do it, and some set of general facts that more or less describe our societies and our selves. We pass from kindergarten through twelfth grade, from high school to college, from college to graduate and professional schools, ending our education at some predetermined stage to become the chef, or the engineer, equipped with a fair understanding of what being a chef, or an engineer, actually is and will be for a long time.

Read the rest at WIRED

Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity

Fascinating article re: specific education “Maybe everybody should think of themselves as having learning disabilities”

“A pianist has to believe in telekinesis.  You have to believe you have the power to move your fingers with your mind.” I learned that from Phil Cohn, my piano teacher’s piano teacher.  Once in a while, when I was in high school, she’d arrange for me to have a master…

Source: Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity – Winnowing Oar