5/06/2008

Educating on a Soapbox

Before I get into trouble, let me state unequivocally that I agree education is good. Learning is beneficial. Ignorance, while it may be bliss, is not godly.

Nevertheless, the fact that all men are created equal does not mean that all men are created the same. The education community, in the last 20 years, has gone to great lengths to educate teachers on the many different types of intelligence. It has required teachers to plan lessons that appeal to multiple types of intelligence. It has urged teachers to recognize and reward various intelligences. Yet it has not changed its expectations that all students perform equally well--or at least above average. (Incidentally, if all students DID perform above average, wouldn't the average then rise? Wouldn't some students then be below average again? But what do I know about statistics, I'm an English major. . . .)

So, I like to read reasonable people's writings about education, such as this:
Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute explains that one of the central problems of K-12 education in America is the romanticizing of it. Which is to say, the fiction that all children are capable of at least being average, given the right circumstances. Unfortunately, this idea ignores what some scholars like to call “reality.”

Read the rest here. But, in short, let me just say that we are not all designed to be doctors and lawyers--or even college graduates. Some of us are amazingly gifted at putting machines together, preparing tasteful food, or dealing with difficult grocery customers--and the rest of us should be sincerely thankful.

1 comment:

Alissa said...

I'm sure my brother would have stayed in school or at least enjoyed it more if his mechanical skills had been appreciated.

An interesting fact: IQ tests have to be recalibrated about every ten years or so because scores go up and the "average" changes. Our great-grandparents would be considered mentally retarded based on modern tests. So the average does actually change, but IQ tests seem to be indicators of a modern and Western scientific mindset rather than actual intelligence.