Category Archives: Education

Education: UK & US Much More Radically Egalitarian Than Europe

America, Britain, Conservatism, Education, Egalitarianism, Europe, Intelligence

The Anglo-American countries, as I have surprisingly come to realize, are fundamentally more radical on many fronts than the Europeans.

Take education. Germany has a “The three-tiered German education system—which sorts children on the basis of ability at the age of ten into either university-preparatory schools or vocational ones.” It “has always been criticized for fostering social segregation.” (The Economist: “The dignity of all the talents: A battle over gifted education is brewing in America.”)

The impetus to “to eliminate separatism in secondary education” began in … you guessed it, England and America, where the very idea that some individuals are more intelligent than others is anathema, apparently.

“The debate over whether education of gifted children segregates them on the basis of pre-existing privilege rather than cognitive ability is neither new nor uniquely American. The number of selective, state-run grammar schools in Britain reached its zenith in 1965, before the Labour government of Harold Wilson embarked on a largely successful effort “to eliminate separatism in secondary education”.

In New York City, Bill de Blasio, the city’s left-wing mayor, wants to eliminate what he deems unjust programmes and school screening for gifted and talented students. … “Mr de Blasio floated the idea of scrapping the entrance test and admitting the top 7% of students from each middle school (roughly, for pupils aged 11 to 14) to specialised schools. … One problem is that at some middle schools this would include students who had not passed the state maths exam. This infuriated many Asian parents, who do not see why their children should be punished for studying hard.” Or, for being more intelligent.

An astonishing 40% of high schools in the city do not teach chemistry, physics or upper-level algebra, notes Clara Hemphill, the founding editor of InsideSchools, an education-policy website. “The problem is not learning linear algebra in schools, but not knowing arithmetic.” …
… Only 6% of high-school pupils attend one of the eight sought-after specialised high schools. Because admissions are based on high-stakes tests …

“Some advocates yearn for an egalitarian model like Finland’s—where comprehensive schools and a focus on special education (or disabilities) rather than giftedness coincide with high rankings on international measures such as PISA scores.”

I suspect Finland is so much more homogeneous a society, down to its education system, than the US.

“But even in Finland, more than 10% of upper-secondary schools (those before university) are specialised. Other attributes, such as high education spending and extreme selectivity of applicants to become teachers (only 10% make it), are probably also critical to the education system’s success. Removing programmes for the gifted will not suddenly turn New York into Finland.”

* Image courtesy Stuyvesant High School, for the gifted, 345 Chambers Street, New York (Photo By: Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

MORE: “The dignity of all the talents: A battle over gifted education is brewing in America.”

Some FACTS About Higher Education & Race

Affirmative Action, Ann Coulter, Education, Race, Racism

Courtesy of Ann Coulter:

* “…if colleges admitted students based solely on SAT scores, every single ethnic group would decline, except one: whites.”

* “… the only race being discriminated against turned out to be whites…”

* “With the same grades and scores, Puerto Ricans were 5.3 times more likely to be admitted to a top-tier law school like Yale than a white applicant.”

Click on Barely-A-Blog’s “Education” search category for more.

UPDATED (12/4): BBC Education Editor Botches English In Misleading Article About Estonian Education

Education, English, EU, Kids, Multiculturalism

Here is a botched sentence that caps a BBC News article on the superiority of Estonian education. (Or, is it the superiority of Estonian kids?)

“In a system that values its teachers highly, [a shortage of teachers] is the biggest risk to maintaining the remarkable progress its made.”

Should be “… it’s made.” Or, “it has made.”

In case the  writer who penned  the piece corrects it, here is a screen pic of what Branwen Jeffreys, BBC education editor, originally wrote:

(“Levelling up” pupils: what an ugly, if understandable, expression. Oh for well-written news in the Queen’s English.

Estonia, originally a Nordic nation, is still a sparsely populated European country. Of the 1,324,820 people who inhabit the country, 907,628 are Estonians, 328,299 are Russian, and 23,665 are Ukrainian. You’d think the ill-educated individual who wrote this reductionist article would have considered more than one factor (teaching methods) in deducing the secret to the smarts shown by Estonian kids.

Put it this way, I doubt that the latest Wacky Progressive Teaching Method explains Estonian achievement on international tests.

UPDATED (12/4): “Slip-shot”! WTF!

 

NEW COLUMN: Update II (12/20/019): Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead

Capitalism, China, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Education, Intelligence, Kids, Left-Liberalism, Reason

NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

An excerpt:

To judge by their writing, the youngsters who’ve been given the run of the conservative op-ed pages, pixelated and printed, know little about how socialism differs from capitalism.

To their credit, they’ve chosen a side—the right side—but are incapable of arguing the morality of capitalism and its efficacy (which stems from its morality).

Discredited are their employers for failing to demand that their young, conservative charges methodically and creatively motivate for the right—and the Right—side.

Endeavoring to explain the oft-repeated banality that, “Colleges are turning young people [into] socialists,” one such prototypical writer says this in her dog’s breakfast of a column, for the Washington Examiner:

“Students are gullible and moldable because they have little conviction and no foundation. Too often, public universities teach students to accept basic, shallow ‘knowledge’ at face value. They are not trained to ask why this knowledge matters or how it influences the rest of their education or how it relates to higher principles.”

The writer at once, and incoherently, condemns “shallow knowledge” (whatever that is), yet laments that students are not taught to relate “shallow knowledge” to higher principles. What does this even mean?!

Such bafflegab is published absent the telltale signs of editorial oversight. Or, perhaps the editors of the Examiner and publications like it think that voicing an opinion is the same as advancing an argument.

However, meandering assertions, circular arguments, non sequiturs and assorted banal utterances don’t belong on editorial pages. Agile argument does.

The piece continues in this puerile vain, conjuring the catchphrase that currently precedes every sentence spoken by a millennial: “I feel like.”

“I feel like” columns and essays are a dime a dozen; their purveyors having procured plum positions in the conservative press.

That “students are not learning” in schools and are thus gravitating to socialism is beyond trite—it’s also a non sequitur. For one would have to argue that lack of learning leads to socialism, and not merely assert it.

In showcasing amateurish, intern-quality material in national forums, conservatives are letting the liberal credo guide them. …

… READ THE REST.  NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

Updated I (11/28/019):

You can’t think critically when there is nothing between your ears: On Critical Thinking: We can only think critically about things about which we have knowledge.”

Update II (12/20/019):