education correlation

Dave Long
Wed, 29 Jan 2003 10:01:18 -0800

> > [1] if these were the questions, would
> > there be any point to public education
> > beyond state-provided daycare?
> Hmm. Yes, if the attitude and environment that parents provide to their
> children determine whether they learn within whatever schools they go to. It
> takes two to tango - good parents to raise good learners, and good schools
> to provide the resources, knowledge and other opportunities.

What I found odd is that the list of
questions is half prenatal:
> Were your parents married when they had you?
> Were they over 20?
> Did they complete High School?

and the other half parental:
> Are they still married?
> Do you see your father read at home?
> Do they tell you that you live in a world where your own efforts make a
> difference?

If the attitude and environment completely
determined whether children learn, if it
took both to tango (And), then we might as
well have those parents who cared educate
their children, and those who did not, not
educate theirs (and neither would require
a public school system).

But if schools can educate despite attitude
or environment, and if public education has
as a goal to provide resources, knowledge,
and other opportunities without requiring
that children must first have chosen their
parents well, then public schools should
encourage, in loco parentis (and to break
any chicken and egg cycle), their pupils'
initiative, literacy, etc.

They do this to some extent today.  Can
they do even better, so that Mr. Hall's
list would have some questions about the
children themselves, and fewer about any
prenatal events?


:: :: ::

> 3. The class sizes were exceptionally low (16) which is probably not
> achievable in most cases.  Class sizes in the 20 range showed no
> benefit.

Bummer.  The argument I'd read was for
a dozen as a maximum, not even 16.  It
makes sense when one thinks about how 
many direct reports one wants: maybe an
assembly line manager can get away with
dozens of direct reports, but knowledge
workers do better with only a handful.

Could caching help?  A cheap slow memory
and a fast expensive one can be combined
to make a fast cheap system; would it be
possible to mix huge classes (for lecture,
drills, or other scalable activities) with 
small tutorials (for face time) to yield
a higher-touch system but the same average
class size?

:: :: ::

>             Not to mention the general dismissive attitude towards teachers
> and school - which isn't normally taught in schools so probably is picked up
> at home.

or perhaps from other schoolchildren?
"no more teachers, no more books, ..."