Combs Spouts Off

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When amateurs outperform professionals

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2008

My nomination for metaphor of the year comes from Dr. Thomas Sowell:

If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master's degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student– which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

Nevertheless, we continue to take seriously the pretensions of educators who fail to educate, but who put on airs of having "professional" expertise beyond the understanding of mere parents

Sowell is not just ragging on educators. His point is much broader than that, and this column is a critically important lesson in economics, presented clearly and understandably. Read the whole thing

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