April 3, 2008

Speaking Truth To Google

I love Google as much as the next person who is hopelessly dependent on its functionality. But Fake Steve Jobs nailed it.

It’s not a company, it’s a cult, and frankly I can appreciate that because we’re a cult too and the fact is that cults are easier to run than companies. But you’re running a cult of children. And not just any children. You’ve got children of the corn type children. […]
And you know what? There is something really evil about taking thousands of the world’s smartest young people and using them to sell online text ads more efficiently. Really. Think of all the really interesting and important things that this pool of brainpower could be addressing.

Possibly the funniest Fake Steve Jobs post I’ve read. if the gifted are working at Google, at least that will ease some of the burden on the country’s prisons.

Posted by James at April 3, 2008 8:23 AM
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Ugh, that whole "high population of 'gifted' people in prison" thing just goes back to the whole "my kid is a horrible student because he's *too smart* and *bored*" nonsense.

The crimes mentioned ("computer hacking") don't tend to lead to lengthy prison sentences, especially because the people who commit crimes like that tend to have access to lawyers and such. The fact is that a huge percentage of the prison population is functionally illiterate, and if we as a society put as much effort into educating them and training them as we do into punishing them, we could cut down on the recidivism rate - but that would be "soft on crime".

Posted by: David Grenier at April 3, 2008 10:22 AM

I can't speak for the contents of that book, but I found the statistic interesting.

The whole idea that all kids should just conform and learn the curriculum as written is part of that whole "Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic" nonsense.

If even progressives buy into a regressive educational model, people will forever wonder why education sucks.

Posted by: James at April 3, 2008 10:51 AM

Education aims at the middle and hits it. (And the middle isn't always in the same place.)

I don't see targeting either the lower quarter or the upper quarter as being any more luxurious than the other. People seem to regard educating gifted students as a luxury, whereas they regard educating remedial students as a necessity.

Both are basically being tortured by being stuck in school all day.

A friend of mine teaches a remedial eighth grade class. One day she wrote a quote about success on the board. I asked her, how does success relate to your students? Have they ever felt success in school?

What a misery to have eight years of failure, seven hours a day.

Similarly, a student I know is driven mad by the constant repetition of information that she considers obvious. That mind should be occupied with learning.

It's my personal opinion, based on my teaching experience, that students should be grouped according to ability and instruction should target the individual student as completely as possible. IMO, if that means fewer classes but more meaningful classes, less academics but more meaningful academics, then that's the better outcome. Students are interested in subjects that relate to them. The more they learn, the more subjects relate to them. The more lenses they can put on to look at the world, the more they'll see. Thus knowledge begets knowledge.

In this global marketplace, we're morons to be dumbing down our kids, teaching them reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, teaching to the very lowest common denominator, and ignoring a more creative and general approach to learning. Then let people apply that approach to the field in which their gifts lie.

Posted by: Maggie at April 3, 2008 11:53 AM

But that explodes the idea of standardized testing, doesn't it? And nobody can be considered proficient unless they excel on a standardized test.

Our solution, as a country, to "is our children learning" has been to shift the problem over one peg until someone in the future thinks to ask "what is we testing?"

Posted by: James at April 3, 2008 12:43 PM

I wish I had your eloquence Maggie, but you hit the nail on the head.

I began tutoring 8th grade math last month at a local school, and I'm floored by the mechanical repetition being shoved down their throats at the expense of actually understanding what they are doing. All for the sake of "hitting the middle".

On the flip side, it's enjoyable helping the young man, as I'm finding he's a lot smarter than his education i smaking him out to be.

Posted by: Bull at April 3, 2008 12:46 PM


A young Lieutenant I worked with some years ago described it as the end result of the "Every Child Left Behind" policy.

Posted by: Bull at April 3, 2008 12:48 PM

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