Recommended Reading – Tuesday, March 20th

Mar 20, 2012 by

Bureaucrats Are Our Future  (The Gods of the Copybook Headings)

“So why use educational methods so complicated even a math professor can’t understand them? So it will be easier for the kids to learn math. I’m not making this up. That is the actual explanation given by the educrats in this story. Rather than using tried and tested teaching methods, public schools across North America are allowing students to be “free to use whatever works best for them.” Yet by definition students don’t know what works. That’s why they’re students.

This is more than a debate over teaching. In a competitive market place schools and teachers would be free to experiment and see what method, or combination of methods, would be most effective at imparting basic numeracy skills. Public education being a near government monopoly this isn’t really an option. Even methods that have proven to work for decades are cast aside for fashionable dogma.”  (Click here for the rest of the article)

Education’s Missing Apple: The Free Enterprise Solution? (Cato Institute)

“We already have successful models for helping low-income students. What is missing is the means to bring those successes to schools all over the country. In every other field, it is routine for the top services and products to reach mass audiences, but there is no Google of education, no Starbucks, no Apple. Why not?

Almost 20 years ago, I decided to leave a career in computer software engineering to search for the answer. It’s a search that took me back to the origins of formal schooling in ancient Greece, and forward through a dozen historical times and places.

So striking was the pattern I saw emerge from the hum of the centuries that I sought to test it against a completely new set of data — the modern scientific research comparing different kinds of school systems. The consensus that arises from that research is much the same. The more education is organized and funded the way other fields are organized and funded, the more it enjoys the scaling-up of excellence that we’ve come to expect.

The same free enterprise system that has given us Google, Starbucks, and Apple works in education, too — if we let it. This system works for businesses through several key conditions: freedom to innovate, consumer choice, competition between providers, price signals, and the ability to distribute profits to investors.”  (Click here for the rest of the article)

Is School Like Jail (The Daily Reckoning)

“The people in my community love their public schools. So too it is in most of the country. If only they knew the costs, and I don’t mean just the financial costs, which are two and three times those of private schools. I also mean the opportunity costs: If only people knew what they were missing!

Imagine education wholly managed by the market economy. The variety! The choice! The innovation! All the features we’ve come to expect in so many areas of life — groceries, software, clothing, music — would also pertain to education. But as it is, the market for education is hobbled, truncated, frozen and regimented, and tragically, we’ve all gotten used to it.

The longer people live with educational socialism, the more they adapt to its inefficiencies, deprivations and even indignities. So it is with American public schools. Many people love them, but it’s like the “Stockholm Syndrome”: We’ve come to have a special appreciation for our captors and masters because we see no way out.”  (Click here for the rest of the article)

The Liberal Assault on Liberalism  (Victor Davis Hanson)

“Conservatives are put into awkward positions of critiquing liberal ideas on grounds that they are impractical, unworkable, or counterproductive. Yet rarely, at least outside the religious sphere, do they identify the progressive as often immoral. And the unfortunate result is that they have often ceded moral claims to supposedly dreamy, utopian, and well-meaning progressives, when in fact the latter increasingly have little moral ground to stand upon.

Take a few contemporary controversies.

Radical environmentalism. When “conservation” sometime in the 1970s was redefined as “environmentalism,” the morality of the entire issue likewise changed. Most Americans had wanted clean air and water; and they were willing to pay to curb pollutants and drive more expensive, but cleaner, cars. They had no desire to see condors die off or kit foxes disappear.

But at some point, the green creed began to dictate that all species were equal to humans. Soon concern for a tiny frog or worm trumped a needed project — a dam, an irrigation canal, an oil well, or a mine — designed to alleviate human suffering. Here I am not talking about large-scale species annihilation, but rather taking a truth about wishing to protect a natural habitat and perverting it into elevating concerns for insects, amphibians, and small fish over people’s elemental struggles to exist and prosper.” (Click here for the rest of the article)

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