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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Preaching to the choir...

If you can read this, it's a miracle

I hope Dr. Pournelle will forgive me for quoting so extensively from one of many interesting comments on his site yesterday, but this is one I want to make sure you see. From "Dropouts a Drain on Society" (WashTimes, 08/21/05):

About 1.3 million students nationwide drop out of school between eighth and 12th grades each year. They're frustrated because they can't read well enough to keep up, bored by their courses and teachers or just unmotivated to stay in school. The implications for the nation's economic vitality are "far-reaching and devastating," according to a Harvard University report. "High school dropouts are far more likely to be unemployed, in prison and living in poverty."

The same verdict is reached in other recent studies by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton, N.J., and the Manhattan Institute of New York City.

"This is a story of losing ground," researcher Paul E. Barton says in the ETS report.

And Dr. Pournelle's comment (Jerry, not Roberta :-) —

They can't read. We know how to teach kids to read. My wife's program does it using computers, and it works, for ages 4 to 74 and IQ from dull to genius; but the schools can't teach them to read, because they have a bunch of crazy theories that teachers are required to learn. The theories don't work, and lots of kids don't learn to read.

Step #1 to growing a generation of students who can and do read: eliminate a;; the education bureaucrats and administrators. Step #2: eliminate universities' schools or departments of education. Step#3: return schools to genuinely local control, taking the feds—and even the states!—out of the equation.

But it'll never happen.

The only other viable alternative? Families who are willing to forgo the economic advantages of a two-income family and choose to teach their own at home. And that's about as viable as getting families to give up mush-for-brains TV programming.