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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Schools have established themselves as the arbitrator of our meritocracy. How are they doing?

The Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay, called The Late, Great American WASP, hits many of the points from Unschooling Rules.

Here are some interesting quotes that form the argument:
  • Meritocracy is leadership thought to be based on men and women who have earned their way not through the privileges of birth but by merit.
  • The U.S. now fancies itself under a meritocratic system, through which the highest jobs are open to the most talented people, no matter their lineage or social background.
  • Meritocracy in America starts (and often ends) in what are thought to be the best colleges and universities.
  • The current American imperium appears to have been built at the offices of the Educational Testing Service, which administers the SATs.
  • Whether Republican or Democrat, left or right, the leading figures in U.S. public life today were good at school...   Their merit resides, presumably, in having been superior students.
  • But is the merit in our meritocracy genuine? Of the two strongest American presidents since 1950— Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan —the first didn't go to college at all, and the second went to Eureka College, a school affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Eureka, Ill. 
  • The only thing that normal undergraduate schooling prepares a person for is... more schooling. Having been a good student, in other words, means nothing more than that one was good at school: One had the discipline to do as one was told, learned the skill of quick response to oral and written questions, figured out what professors wanted and gave it to them.
  •  A good student might even be more than a bit of a follower, a conformist, standing ready to give satisfaction to the powers that be so that one can proceed to the next good school, taking another step up the ladder of meritocracy.
  • What our new meritocrats have failed to evince... is character 
  • Trust, honor, character: The elements... have not been taken up by the meritocrats.
  • The subprime real estate collapse and the continuing hedge-fund scandals have been brought on directly by men and women who are little more than "greedy pigs"... [and]  all have master's degrees from the putatively best business schools in the nation.
  • Thus far in their history, meritocrats, those... good students, appear to be about little more than getting on, getting ahead and (above all) getting their own. 
The school industry (and the academic PhD guild) has established itself as the arbitrator of our meritocracy.  How are they doing?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#unrules55 - The only sustainable answer to the global education challenge is a diversity of approaches.

The last "rule" of Unschooling Rules is, "The only sustainable answer to the global education challenge is a real diversity of approaches, including homeschooling and unschooling."

  • Current Scorecard Rating: OMG! Thought-leading breakthrough!
11/10/2013: Here is Ken Danford, presenting at TEDx Amherst College:

4/8/2011: Jeff Sandefer's work is increasingly becoming "required reading" for anyone really interested in evolving education. While so many say it, Sandefer's work actually does start from the needs of the students, not the schools.  Here he is:

 For the most recent Unschooling Rules scorecard, see: http://unschoolingrules.blogspot.com/search/label/Scorecard