While debating whether high school graduation rates are a good proxy for improved education outcomes in the U.S., I discover there is a scintilla of common ground between me and Kozol:
Grade level completion does not equal grade level competence.
Might be the only sane thing the man has written.
I find Common Ground with Philip Kovacs
Buried in a lengthy and somewhat confused anti-market diatribe. Education Roundtabler, Philip Kovacs, makes an odd admission:
I don't believe that massive cash infusions can save our schools. Cash would certainly help in places like Butler, where black "stuff" oozes from the ceiling vents, but the issues plaguing many schools cannot be solved with money alone.
Actually, better management of Butler's current funds might be enough to do the trick, but let's not quibble over details.
Of course, Philip thinks the underlying problem is "despair," whatever that means, which needs to be solved with a "broad coalition" with undefined goals.
Nonetheless, common ground. You take it where you can get it.
Maybe Philip will stop by and elaborate. He apparently thinks I owe him an apology for something or other too.
The trouble with snark
I like good snark as much as the next guy. However, when you engage in snark, you better be certain you're got a good position. Preferably a defendable and/or coherent position. Otherwie you look foolish.
The race card gets played
Over at Crooked Timber the subject turns to education and equality, deeply confused commenter Greg Anrig, sensing he's losing the argument, plays a thinly veiled race card.
You haven’t responded with specificity to what I wrote and keep conflating race with income, and home environment with schooling. Put your actual name on your posts and I’ll go through the trouble of putting together a bibliography. I would understand, though, if you felt that might not be helpful to your career.
You stay classy, Greg.
The opposition should take some lessons from frequent commenter Stephen Downes who, though we often disagree, takes the effort to justify and find support for his arguments. By doing so, he moves the discussion forward and we all learn a little bit and thereby adjust our positions accordingly. At least that's the theory.
In any event, it's my birthday today, so I'll play nice and go easy on the opposition at least for today. So, if you've been afraid to comment for fear of being smacked down, I have the kid gloves for the rest of today.
By the way, go read this speech, Complexity Theory and Environmental Management, by Michael Crichton. The problems of Yellowstone Park are similar to the problems in Education.