Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spotted Toad

One of the best reasons to visit a site is to find people smarter than oneself, whether in the posts or in the comments. The usual problem is that you also find people more eccentric than oneself.  That used to be fun when I was younger and trying to decide whether liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, communitarianism, anarcho-monarchism*, etc is closest to the truth. I get that at all the sites in my sidebar, but West Hunter, Information Processing, and Volokh Conspiracy are particularly rich in both brilliance and eccentricity.

I think I have another, found through West Hunter comments.  Spotted Toad had a brilliant line
When some schmuck teaches for a year and wails about dysfunction and racism, like this guy (avi: Ed Boland) or like Kozol in years past, it’s a way of ignoring that you can have the best teacher in the world, the best pre-K and infant care in the world, and the test score gaps on hard tests (and lots of other gaps down the road) won’t go away. I think school is still worth something, and making schools better still worth something. And is this crap worse than the ed reform crap from a few years ago, that said it was all about lazy teachers and unions? Probably not. The lumbering beast of the Democratic Party is wandering away from saying it’s all teachers’ fault, and reaching for Raj Chetty or someone else to say it’s all neighborhoods, or pre-K, or something else. (Not two parents versus one of course, though I know some here would say even that it is inconsequential.)
So I followed it up and it's a very interesting site. My sidebar remains reserved for people who comment here or that I comment on extensively, because that is my network. Yet I do visit other places.  Give it a try.

* You laugh.  Tolkien was an anarcho-monarchist.


Sam L. said...

It may have it, but I ain't findin' it.

Texan99 said...

It's always seemed obvious to me that the quality of education (and family, neighborhood, etc.) can make a huge difference in the quality of intellectual life for any student, while at the same time it's nearly powerless to erase differences in natural ability between individuals. Who hasn't seen natural ability blossom, or be squelched? People of any IQ who are impervious to good or bad influences strike me as pretty rare. I know very well the difference between my own teachers who put me in a coma or drew out the best in me, and yet obviously I also brought something to the educational process that was completely out of their control.

There are teachers who are lazy benchwarmers with nothing going on between the ears, and there are unions and other social institutions who coddle and enable them, often out of sheer pudding-headedness about what an education is and how best to impart it. That's not to say the teachers or the terrible institutions are the sole explanation--or anything like it--for the poor educational outcomes experienced by a lots of school kids, but they ain't helping the situation. Students only have so much ability, and it's a shame to waste whatever's there.