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.
Stumbling and Mumbling linked to a site which discusses the two Latin roots of the English word "education:"
Craft (1984) noted that there are two different Latin roots of the English word "education." They are "educare," which means to train or to mold, and "educere," meaning to lead out. While the two meanings are quite different, they are both represented in the word "education." Thus, there is an etymological basis for many of the vociferous debates about education today. The opposing sides often use the same word to denote two very different concepts. One side uses education to mean the preservation and passing down of knowledge and the shaping of youths in the image of their parents. The other side sees education as preparing a new generation for the changes that are to come--readying them to create solutions to problems yet unknown.
Of course, formal education - as opposed to all of the other education life offers - has the job of both "putting stuff in" and "drawing good stuff out."
But people vary widely in intelligence, talent, energy, curiosity, and ingenuity. Simon at Classical Values in Romantic Intellectualism has a fine discussion of American education, and about how PC prevents many from talking honestly about things like No Child Left Behind. (His post highlights Charles Murray's The Age of Educational Romanticism in The New Criterion). Simon concludes his post thus:
"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -- John W. Gardner, Saturday Evening Post, December 1, 1962
In other words not every man has equal intelligence. All have equal dignity if they comport themselves in a dignified manner. We owe the maintenance of our civilization (and it takes a lot of maintaining) to our plumbers and garbage men. We owe the advances to our scientists and engineers. What we must never forget is that we are all in this together. The man/woman who is respectful and contributes deserves our respect without qualification. The financial trader or the clerk at the grocery store.
Let me add one final point that the article didn't make that I think is vitally important and not well addressed in many communities. Hard work can make up to a 15 IQ point difference in outcomes (sorry no link). That is one standard deviation. It is not a lot. It is however significant. You can make up for some lack of anything with extra effort. How many times do we hear of the ball player with less than stellar abilities make up for his lack by devoting more time to practice than his team mates? What works in baseball also works in school. You can punch above your weight if you work at it.
Back to the S&M piece, in which Chris Dillow wonders about the differences between the Brit private and state schools. It begins:
The other day I was toiling away when I heard a series of loud bangs. "What idiot is setting off fireworks in the middle of the afternoon?" I wondered. I went out to find out. It was Oakham School's army cadets having shooting practice.
Which set me thinking: isn't private schooling so good? It's education in the sense of "educere" - drawing out whatever latent talents a student has. If someone doesn't have the aptitude for academe, they are given the chance to excel at something else: the military, or music (Oakham School has a thriving music department) or sport: the school's county-standard facilities has recently helped it produce somefine cricketers.
Contrast this to the Marxian view, which regards (state?) schools as means for moulding people to meet the requirements of capitalism - a view which New Labour, which regards the state as a human resources department, seems to regard not as a criticism but as a policy ideal.