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.
There is a difference in the learning of the top 15% of students and everyone else. There is additionally a difference in the top 1% of students compared to the top 15. These are not hard lines. The top 25% gradually merges into the abilities of the 15, and the top 3% gradually merges into the 1.
No current proposals for educational change, conservative or liberal, reflect this. Almost none of their programs makes the slightest difference in the classroom. The school districts which start with kids who test better in kindergarten will graduate seniors 13 years later who test exactly the same amount better, regardless of their approach. There is some soft evidence that the worst students do benefit from having better teachers. The others - not at all. The numbers are unclear for homeschoolers, but at the moment it doesn't look any different for them either.
I think some things do matter. I think students will pick up new vocabulary at the same rate and good ones will therefore have better SAT's whether they read Plato or Maya Angelou. Therefore, it would be better to read Plato for the larger ideas and the uh...real diversity. I'm not sure character and culture can be taught, but I think they can be reinforced and trained.
Assistant Village Idiot