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.
Why isn't academic excellence "life preparation"? And if we want kids prepared for life in some other sense than academic excellence, I'm not convinced schools are the place to carry out the task. Parents come to mind.
It's like sending young people to a welding academy that doesn't teach welding, and then being upset that they didn't learn how to paint houses either.
It looks like increasingly expensive substandard babysitting to me.
I heard the following CS Lewis quote from Walter Hooper just yesterday. In discussing the American system of accumulating credits to get a diploma or degree he observed "It is rather like a horse show where you judge the horse neither by speed or strength, but by how many oats you attempted to feed him."
Assistant Village Idiot
I think you would enjoy Paul Graham's 'The Lesson to Unlearn' essay from December 2019. It's hard to excerpt, but his discussion is of the incentive in school is to get good grades and not on learning or education.
Getting a good grade in a class on x is so different from learning a lot about x that you have to choose one or the other, and you can't blame students if they choose grades. Everyone judges them by their grades — graduate programs, employers, scholarships, even their own parents.
I'm so old that I both got good grades in school and learned useful stuff. it was one of those silly old schools where they taught us things now and then. Kids who weren't interested could drift through the regular classes paying minimal attention, but kids who wanted college prep so they could attend a real college and learn even more useful stuff had access to accelerated classes taught by people with degrees in real subjects. The principal had a choice who came to work in his school and could get rid of bad teachers. Shockingly, this was a public school system.
Within the last 2years I took a sociology course on the undergraduate level, for a degree in nursing I am still pursuing. That course stated schools were mostly for socialization. In the early years learning to read was emphasized, and in later years some math. Mostly schools were for getting students into the culture, whatever that is. Very little about teaching them facts and useful knowledge.
Parents: if you love your children, home school. Don't look back, you'll turn into a column of salt. IYKWIMAITYD
In this age of diversity, public schools are a political prize. Even more so when they are in hands of enemies of the community, who see their mission to transform the community rather than support it.
In all areas of mixed nationality, the school is a political prize of the highest importance. It cannot be deprived of its political character as long as it remains a public and compulsory institution. There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions.
--Mises, Ludwig von (1927). Liberalism
Keep in mind, these doctors of education, conduct research, but to no objective standard. They they think something up, usually plagiarized from a century or more ago, then gain followers, implement it by experimenting on children, then when it fails do nothing to help their juvenile victims recover from the damage.
I recommend Freddie deBoer's The Cult of Smart, or his shorter excerpts. I caught him being interviewed on Razib Khan's "Unsupervised Learning." deBoer is a quantitative researcher who is unwelcome in education, even though he is experienced and credentialed. He points out, for example, that telling children they can do anything they want if they just dream hard enough and keep trying is ultimately a cruel and destructive philosophy for students who do not have the abilities. It's like telling short, slow guys who can't jump they can go to the NBA if they just Dream Big. If they love basketball they can learn to coach, or manage, or write, or photograph, and the sooner they learn that the happier they will be.
Assistant Village Idiot
But this is a simple question, with a simple answer. In a western open market society, the people who foot the bill get to define the service they are willing to pay for. If the merchant isn't willing to provide the desired service, then they risk being run out of business.
It seems to be the whole educational system in America is ring-fenced and moated to death to prevent this from happening, but it isn't working and won't work in the long run. The agents of change are within the castle. Charter schools are going to kill public school systems, and it's long overdue. Everyone knows this.
In the meantime, parents are getting more realistic views about trades and about the real worth of sending kids to college that don't belong there. The university advertising blitz has run its course, as has the baby boom. Now decreasing matriculation is going to become the new fact of life.