Some Thoughts on Education

Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and they all stink

On the message boards and blogs, few subjects elicit as much discussion as pedagogy because we can all include our own personal experiences or the experiences of our children into the debate. Across the political spectrum, everyone has a solution to reforming education; unfortunately, these solutions are usually neither good nor novel, and are presented as an epiphany that pointy-headed educators somehow overlooked in the morass of the staid bureaucracy. Segregate disruptive students? Separate boy and girls? It’s all been considered. People love to complain, but seldom offer viable solutions.

From Marginal Revolution

The behavior gap between rich and poor children, starting at very early ages, is now a well-known piece of social science. Entering kindergarten, high-income children not only know more words and can read better than poorer children but they also have longer attention spans, better-controlled tempers and more sensitivity to other children.

All of which makes the comparisons between boys and girls in the same categories fairly striking: The gap in behavioral skills between young girls and boys is even bigger than the gap between rich and poor.

By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do.

The typical response -particularity by the right and libertarians – is that boys are unable to thrive in classroom settings due to hormonal differences, infective teaching methods and teachers that are blind to the special needs of boys. But that aside, how else do you teach the masses the fundamentals but in a classroom setting? We cannot make special provisions for every student that cannot pay attention or is slow to learn. Certainty, educators already try, but this balloons the federal education budget – the same budget that conservatives say is too big. You cannot have it both ways. If conservatives wanted to cut education spending, they would have to endorse a ‘factory style’ of education. Anyone else see the irony of conservatives and libertarians that otherwise oppose victim mentality make exceptions for boys that cannot follow instruction? Everyone wants to play the blame game when they have a dog in the fight. Yea, that guy is homeless because of poor self-control, but my kid got an ‘F’ because the teacher is deaf to his special needs.

How about autodidactism and home schooling? The former requires some formal foundations of knowledge that is acquired in a school setting and the later isn’t an option for most people.