We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, March 6. 2012
Lots of good food for thought here.
The Chaotic Legacy of the Classroom Radicals. He begins:
Butler at National Journal: The Coming Higher-Ed Revolution. He begins:
A discussion in the NYT: Should College be for Everyone?
And about high school, from Lulu at Bookworm:
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I work in computer network operations. The gentleman next to me is a team leader, responsible for leading a group of people whose job it is to dive into difficult issues of network, application and server misbehavior and figure out what the problem is and what to do to fix it. He was recently promoted to that job after some years of handling such problems - and the customers who have them - in an exemplary fashion.
He's never spent a day in college, and he's got to be making at least $65K, probably more.
He did spend a few years in the U.S. Army, where he learned things like self-discipline, how to give and take an order, how to organize and execute tasks, and all kinds of other things that a) employers need and value and b) you don't learn in college (or at least can readily graduate without learning). But God forbid that high school guidance counselors, faced with a kid who is reasonably intelligent but needs some direction in life, recommend that a stint in the U.S. Military would fit a kid's needs.
By insisting that everyone should attend college, college stops being a training place for the brightest minds. When everyone goes to college, it doesn’t elevate the unmotivated, non-studying student. It lowers the bar for everyone else.
It turns college from being a place where the primary purpose is to study and learn into high school with booze and sex and drugs without having to worry about your parents coming home early.
Here is a 2006 TED talk that explains a lot.
Few facts from the talk:
Our current education system is design to create university professors. The reason for the constant pushing of the life of the mind, is because that is the life of the professor but what about those who don't get tenure or go to the end.
He states UNESCO predicts in now 24 years there will be more people graduated from education than have up to this point in history. Thus the reason a college degree isn't quite as valuable as before.
The anecdote about Gillian Lynne is telling. Sadly in the age of Ritalin, not many doctors will diagnose a kid as "not sick, but a dancer" So how many kids are doped rather than directed into fields other than the university they might find beneficial.
As for Education 2.0, well that is going to be real different and it is going to leave the over-priced campus to those who can afford a 4-yr vacation as soon as the credentials monopoly is wrested from them.
Until now, access to the books/knowledge was the limiting factor. Now we have the internet with knowledge pouring out of it. Watch this TED video that shows even language isn't a barrier for a small group of children with a desire to learn.
Next big thing in education: Granny Cloud.
And if you refine their interaction with the kids by using the problem method of teaching asking thought questions rather than recitation of unorganized facts.
Here's a couple of quotes from students who were switched to the problem method of teaching
"I think this is a good way of teaching because it gives the pupils initiative and self-reliance. It helped me to like school because now the class is more interesting. If I do not believe a thing, I now ask the pupils questions about it. This method is better than the old, because when the teacher went out of the room the class would have to stop, but now when she goes out the class goes on just as though she were present."
"This method is very good because it teaches boys and girls to think independently and they learn how to solve problems in later life. It has taught me to like school because it keeps me so wide-awake that I cannot do anything but get into the discussions and debates. If a pupil is interested in anything, he will certainly learn. Under our new method the pupil has to think and he is more positive than when the teacher tells him. There are never any slackers now."
Oh, those were students in 1918. Yet for some reason we lost this method. We now have education researchers trying to determine if teaching kids critical thinking is a good idea. When 100 years ago, Frank M. McMurry made a good argument that kids have critical thinking until it is educated out of them.