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.
I read the three-part series in the WSJ by Murray, which was interesting and provocative. Had been meaning to write something on the series, but Kling beat me to it at TCS.
Kling links the WSJ articles. I cannot link them thru the subscription barrier.
Kling believes that Murray is too IQ-centric and elitist, (our piece on IQ here) and is skeptical about the idea of "talent." I lean towards Murray's view, even though I usually agree with Kling on things in general. Furthermore, I think Kling misunderestimates the economic ladder that the trades climb: any plumber in my town makes more money than the average college grad in their cubicle - and has more fun and more freedom in doing so.
I will agree with Kling on one thing: the nature and goals of high school education need to be re-thought - but not re-thought by government. And college? Most American college education is overpriced high-school remediation, with a dose of Marxist re-education thrown in.
Mr. Barrister Sir:
A THREE parter. Well I reck'on I could get thu it ok wit sum help but then you done said it be about IQ.
Well I hate them bastards for what they done on 9-11 and so I don't think I got much ta add.
You recl'on they'll put it on like a mini series on PBS. I'd like that.
I think the Chinese mandarin system was a great way to find and develop talent. Search out the most talented, train them, and give them every opportunity. No matter where you started out. Ditto the Church in medieval times. Even the Evil Empire got one thing right: they sought out the best dancers, athletes, etc. all over the country and trained them, regardless of their parents' ability to pay. Remember the Kirov and the Bolshoi balllets in the wicked old days of communism? Of course their dancers wanted to defect to make more money and have more artistic freedom, but they would never have got the free training over here that made them what they were...
I don't care if you're purple or green, if you're smart you should be educated. The problem with American universities now is that the best ones have become hopelessly corrupt, mills for processing the affirmative action quotas and the less-than-stellar rich brats who buy their way in, bully pulpits for PC professors... The bad ones waste the time and money of people who should be learning a trade, or something non-academic.
The excellent point that Kling made, however, is that one cannot train the stupid kids in technologies or trades that will become obsolete rapidly. As greedy companies rapidly outsource every last job they can (what in God's name we will do when we are finally at war with China and they have stolen every last one of our technological and manufacturing secrets from making everything we use, who knows?!) one wonders if there will be any jobs left for the working class besides chambermaids and gardeners and nannies and fast food help...
If one tries to remain optimistic that any decent jobs will be left in this country for our average citizens, the dumber kids will have to be trained to maneuver and sell themselves to employers without loyalty to their workforce. So they will need to learn not just how to be a good plumber (which requires entrepreneurial skills that only some are born with) but rather in etiquette, social skills, customer service, problem solving, working constructively as part of a team, a work ethic, etc. All the kinds of things that families, churches, and military service used to instill. Things more and more lacking in people raised in alternative families by people holding alien values.
The best thing about the post-war European educational system (now being dismantled) was its providing a free and excellent higher education for the most gifted members of society, no matter how poor their parents. Free universities that are ferociously difficult to get into--those are what we should have here. When I studied in Europe in high school, the exams that determined where one went to college were not signed, but numbered, and the anonymous graders determined your fate based, gasp, on how good an essay you wrote about the Renaissance and Reformation.
It outrages me that the government here is willing to spend four times as much on the education of a disabled kid of mine as they are willing to spend on a gifted one. An appropriate education should reward excellence and not simply help those who need it.
"The best sign of a vibrant education sector would be more institutional failure. With sufficient competition and innovation, we would see colleges and universities fold or merge at the same rate as ordinary businesses. We would see schools shut down because parents send their children elsewhere. We would see large layoffs in some school systems, with hiring taking place among successful start-ups."
Wow--what a world we could have if we could make it.