[Its.an.education.project] Constructionism (was Re: XP on OLPC - a contrarian view)

Albert Cahalan acahalan at gmail.com
Fri May 23 23:39:11 EDT 2008

On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 8:10 PM, Alex Belits
<abelits at phobos.illtel.denver.co.us> wrote:
> Eben Eliason wrote:

>> For what it's worth, I would be careful to portray "the low-achievers"
>> and "the brightest" as opposites.  As I note below, I frequently find
>> that some of the brightest are also some of the low-achievers, due to
>> certain aspects of the educational system.  This doesn't change your
>> point, of course, which is noted.  It simply means that the way we go
>> about raising the overall educational level might not be as
>> straightforward as many think.

I know. I was being overly polite, to the point of being wrong.
I hate it when others do that, and ought not do that myself.
Here we go, the rude version: "the dumb kids (future muggers)"

> What is important, higher overall education level ALWAYS benefits society
> given other equal conditions, and lower overall educational level ALWAYS
> hurts it.
> Ex #1: The above mentioned Republicans (or to be more precise,
> Social Conservatives that in US are represented by Republican Party)
> who are mostly supported by either rich or ignorant.

I hadn't thought of myself as being rich, but OK. Thanks.

Do remember that No Child Left Behind is actually working.
Prior to that, it was very easy for a school to simply ignore
the education of uncooperative and dumb kids. The kids got
nothing more than bad babysitting. I hope you don't find it
wrong or unbelivable that the Republican Party actually helps
those who are doing badly.

> Why there ARE tests that are not a part of the teaching process
> in the first place? US turns everything into some kind of
> adversarial system where government acts as both public schools'
> owner and adversary that challenges schools with tests instead
> of co-operating with them, thus basically not trusting its own
> employees to do their job, and doing it through students for whom
> both government and teachers are supposed to be figures of authority.

It's a mess, mainly because of the teacher's union. You can't
fire or lay off the worst teachers; you can only fire or lay off
the ones with the least seniority. You can't offer more money to
specialist teachers that are in high demand; an English or gym
teacher gets the same as a chemistry or physics teacher. This is
much of the reason why dumping money on the problem is rarely
effective; it just goes to the same people.

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