We desperately need national clinical studies in education. Some I would like to see are, what is a correlation between:
- Learning pre-calculus as a student and comfortably using math at age 30?
- Studying literature as a student and applying ethics and exploring what makes for a good life at age 35?
- Class ranking in high school and strengths in problem solving at age 40?
- Studying biology and life expectancy?
- Grades and happiness in life?
- Material studied and divorce rate? Or number of career options at age 30? Or drug and alcohol dependency?
Of what are we so afraid? And why does it take unschoolers to bear the brunt of questioning dogma?
Obviously any study wouldn't get it right the first time. But don't we owe it to our children and their children to develop the methodology and processes to be then calibrated?
There is a final irony. When it comes to science, Federal education committees are more interested in advocating every student "learn" it than the committees themselves actually using and applying it. Said another way, let's only act as if we have answers, and optimize a process\ around them, when we actually do. And where we don't have answers, let's embrace a diversity of solutions and approaches.
See also: In education conversations, the mutually assured destruction is "Prove it!"
** A final note. Most education research tries to frame the learning process using the same deterministic models as physics/industrial manufacturing. The goal is to find the steps/learning theory that "works", and then apply those steps with greater and greater rigor. Perhaps a new approach to research is needed.