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Cocky and dumb

Posted by Richard on April 3, 2007

There's still more evidence that American kids don't measure up to their foreign counterparts, and according to Ralph Reiland, American kids are cocky and dumb by design:

Only 6 percent of Korean eighth-graders expressed confidence in their math skills, compared with 39 percent of eighth-graders in the United States, according to the latest annual study on education by the Brown Center at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The problem is that the surveyed Korean students are better at math than the American students.

Their kids are unsure and good, in short, while ours are cocky and dumb — not exactly a good position for the U.S. to occupy in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Reiland sees this as the predictable consequence of educators' aversion to competition and embrace of unearned self-esteem. They've chosen to promote "unskilled self-satisfaction" over competence:

…  For those in American education with an aversion to competition, an aversion to the thought of winners and losers, the idea of putting self-esteem ahead of academic performance was an easy concept to adopt.

It's like those no-score ball games. The goal is good feelings. Everyone plays, no one loses, every kid gets a trophy. It's like the teachers' contracts — no scorecard, no linking of pay hikes to performance, everyone's a winner.

It's a mind-set that sees score-keeping as too judgmental, too oppressive, too capitalist, too likely to deliver inequality and injured self-images, whether it's with pay or on the ball field.

In a related development, Seattle's Hilltop Children's Center recently banned Legos because they "teach capitalism" and promote private property rights:

According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

They claimed as their role shaping the children's "social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity … from a perspective of social justice."

This is the same contemptible mindset made even more explicit.

The field of education is largely in the hands of extreme egalitarians and collectivists. They despise winning, achievement, and success because they see every instance of those things as a reproach. They loathe individualism because it encourages people to differentiate themselves from the herd in which they think we should all be submerged. They hate liberty because it frees some to rise above others, and they believe we should all be constrained to the level of the least of us.

Nothing would do more for the future of liberty than wresting control of the schools of education from the socialist scum who currently dominate the field. Of course, it would help if those wresting control had a coherent philosophy that celebrated the individual, freedom, and reason, instead of the incoherent, unprincipled mess that is today's conservatism.

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One Response to “Cocky and dumb”

  1. Dana said

    Hey, I wrote about this a while back…it was an interesting report with so many interesting points to it. I thought it interesting that of the nations whose children expressed confidence in math, the US actually did quite well with only us and Israel performing better than average. I liked what Mr. Finn had to say best, however:

    Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the D.C.-based Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, said the report shows that schools need not be fun to be effective. “Schools should work on academics, not feelings,” Finn said. “True self-esteem, self-confidence and happiness are born of true achievement.”

    from the Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/17/AR2006101701298.html

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