Archive for the 'Public Education Nonsense' Category
I started this blog just as part of an effort to learn more about how the internet works. I wanted to see if I could develop any marketable skills too. (To an extent this worked out. I’m 54. It is amazing the number of people my age that know nothing of the ways of the internet.) I’ve used what I’ve learned here in a few different employment gigs. I’ve also used what I’ve learned here to use as a hammer in a couple of other employment gigs. (I can’t stand it when someone says that it will take a while to change the “address or phone number.” When I say just give me the password, I’ll take care of it right now, it gets attention.
Over the years I’ve touched on kitchen design as a topic. (I do still hope to someday turn this URL into a business for residential kitchen remodeling.) But I think it is kinda mean to pick on others ill advised design decisions. You never know who made the decision, the kitchen designer or the client. My standard line to people was, “I’ll gladly sell you an ugly kitchen, just don’t expect to see it on my web site.”
I’ve also, since I worked in the industry, touched on higher education. The Deuce graduates from high school this spring. So next fall I’ll have two college students in the family (the Ace is a junior in college). I think I’ll pick some of that back up. There is craziness going on at college campuses right now. But then the left is always crazy. I worry about the Deuce. I don’t want to see him get caught up in some Kafkaesque moment with the Voluntary Auxiliary Thought Police and the Social Justice Warriors that inhabit most campuses.
I’ll also touch on some kitchen design since I’m back in the business. I’m working for a Euro line now. I have the best showroom in all of Texas to work from. When I had my own place I often felt like some busker singing a cappella on the street corner. With my current gig, I feel like I’m one of the three tenors with a full orchestra behind me. It is a complete joy to be in the showroom these days. What I’ll make a lukewarm promise is to show you how to use SketchUp and Festool to make a beautiful kitchen for yourself.
Oh, I’ll still post stupid shit too. I’ll never leave that behind. I will also do my best to have a little more courage on my postings. I’ve held back for fear of offending friends and relatives that know about this blog. I’m pretty convinced now that nobody reads the thing, so it’s time to get offensive.
And we learn from the Education Realist that some people say the school is blaming the victim when it was suggested the kid not where the back pack to school:
So when a boy with a little girl’s backpack faces derision and taunting, the school might see both the taunting and the backpack as problems. But no, the mother takes the story public, and a wide range of idiots go out of their way to denounce the school for not letting a 9 year old boy have a my little pony backpack.
The Education Realist has links to other commenters on this story. If my son wanted to wear such a thing, I would let him, but I’d also tell him he’d better prepare for trouble. I remember what school was like.
The one thing I’ve not read in any of these stories or blog posts about this kid is any mention of his father. It’s got to be really hard on a boy to go through life without a father.
If they looked at 97,000 schools, surely some of them must have the opposite pattern where, at a statistically significant level, Asian females get in trouble more than black males. Right? So, all they have to do is figure out What These Schools Are Doing Right and then repeat it nationally.
The guy makes me laugh out loud on a daily basis.
When I started this blogging effort, I was much more serious than I have been recently. When I started I did a bunch of stuff on education. I also dabbled in financial regulation. I soon gave up on anything related to kitchen design as that stuff moves at a snail’s pace and you could be current with one blog post a year. Lately I’ve been putting up stuff that, for the most part is kind of silly. There’s 10’s of millions of guys like me with a blog. There are hundreds of millions more using the Hello Kitty blogging tool. I’m not really carving out a niche here.
Anyway, here is what I’ve been reading ’round the web
There has been a bunch of stuff going ’round the web about Kashawn Campbell. I do recommend reading the original LA Times story before going on to the other posts. Education Realist is very good. Steve Sailer is his usual provocative self: Forrest Gump goes to Berkeley. As usual, many of the comments at both places are good too.
Also on the education front, there is this ridiculous piece at Slate: If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person. It is so bad that I think it might be satire:
I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book. There wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.
That paragraph right there is what makes me think the piece is satire. She, the author, is obviously aware that without AP calculus and other topics, there would be no internet that would allow such wide circulation of such nonsense. If it is not satire, it is the most vile piece of statist crap I’ve read in a while. Sending my kids to the Dallas schools would be child abuse. The author, naturally, does not acknowledge where our president sends his kids to school. Anyway, Sailer and his commenters have some thoughts. (Update: Just as an example: check out this interesting comment on dog whistles.)James Taranto, as usual, criticizes the logic behind the author’s argument. Angus does a down and dirty look at the numbers, to show how bad the argument is practically. But the guy who really lets the Slate author have it is Ken at Popehat. (Cute kids Ken!)
It’s Friday, so everyone should stop by and look at Friday Ephemera at David Thompson’s site. A sample:
You should watch that video, it’s short and funny. Those Japanese are pretty whacky!
I’m off now to find a job. I’m still looking after five months. Pretty soon I’m going to have something to say about the job market and the skills matching problem.
This is another step the big change that is going happening in public education. You may think that this will be driven by cold heartless Republicans that hate your children. I happen to think it will really accelerate when municipalities figure out how much tax revenue will be available to them once the public schools are hollowed out.
Do I need to provide with more details on my thoughts?
Paul Graham. Almost ten years old, but still very good.
I also pointed the Deuce to this one on high school. He actually took a quote from that essay and put it on his Facebook page. I might be getting somewhere.
I’ve not seen the program. I’m sure it has a number of shortcomings. But, since it is EdX, it will only get better. This will help those who have a different idea on how to run a school, or what type of curriculum to offer. It will help separate teaching from evaluation. I also have no doubt that the use of the software will create new Shakespeares, but it will help students learn to write clearly for commercial purposes. Maybe not now, but some day soon. For ninety nine percent of us, commercial clarity is sufficient.
This is the sort of technological advance that will allow for a lot of creative people to start smaller schools serving niche groupings of students. Leading, I’m certain anyway, to much better educational outcomes. Better is defined as the students learning what they want to learn, not what the governor and others think they should learn.
Again, accreditation will likely remain a significant roadblock for some time. Accrediting bodies will likely require human grading as opposed to allowing software like this in schools they accredit. This will, for a while anyway, keep educational changes at bay.
HT: Arnold Kling
I’m amused that Arnold and I both like The Diamond Age so much. I probably did start reading the book because of his references to Thetes and Vickies on EconLog
He takes a dim view of how writing is taught in high school:
The most obvious difference between real essays and the things one has to write in school is that real essays are not exclusively about English literature. Certainly schools should teach students how to write. But due to a series of historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature. And so all over the country students are writing not about how a baseball team with a small budget might compete with the Yankees, or the role of color in fashion, or what constitutes a good dessert, but about symbolism in Dickens.
With the result that writing is made to seem boring and pointless. Who cares about symbolism in Dickens? Dickens himself would be more interested in an essay about color or baseball.
It just gets better from there.
One can spend hours going through Paul Graham’s web site.
From the article:
Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college.
As the father of both a girl and a boy, all I have to say is: No Shit.
Do go read the whole thing.