A friend emailed that:
Last Sunday I tried to watch the show by Juan Williams (former NPR guy) on Fox News Latino, about reforming American schools.
He gave not a hint that something may depend on the students at the "input" end of the system. No, let us reform the system, and everything will be hunky-dory.
Here are the statistics of the students of Mooresville [in North Carolina] High School, which was chosen by him as a shining example of the well-reformed "system" . . .
I missed that show myself. The Mrs and I spent that whole evening arguing over whether we should watch Fox News Anglo or Fox News Sino.
But yes. As I opined at length in that world-shaking bestseller We Are Doomed, the field of education contains the essence of modern Western stupidity about human nature in a very highly concentrated form.
Anything about education aired on public networks, or written about at length in the public prints, is data-blind wishful thinking at best, stone-faced lies at worst. As I wrote in the aforementioned world-shaker, page 132:
Education is a vast sea of lies, waste, corruption, crackpot theorizing, and careerist log-rolling. If, as H.G. Wells asserted, "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe," we have lost the race, and had better brace ourselves for the catastrophe.
My solution would be to hand over my state's K-12 system to Sweden's Kunskapsskolen.
The entire school syllabus is on a website. Each student works at his own level, and can portion out his time on different subjects as he chooses. Each subject's divided into steps. The classrooms are basic and bare. For sports, arts, and shop, students go off to rented, shared facilities. Teachers get just seven weeks off a year, same as most Swedish office workers. Parents can follow kids' progress on the Internet.
The whole thing's a commercial operation, with a return on capital around five to seven percent. Quote from the boss of Kunskapsskolen: "We don't mind being compared to McDonald's. If we're religious about anything, it's standardization. We tell our teachers it's more important to do things the same way than to do them well." End quote.
That last quoted sentence is one to cherish. Instead of sitting around waiting for Superman to show up, we should be trying to maximize results from ordinary-Joe teachers and administrators.