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Leave No Child Behind September 28, 2007

Posted by federalist in Education.
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I’ve complained about public schools being too rigid.  Let me also complain about them being inexcusably inefficient: Via MarginalRevolution comes this summary of 20th-century research noting that systematic methods of primary education have been developed and tested, yet our public schools have still not adopted the most effective known means of teaching.

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1. federalist - October 30, 2007
2. federalist - November 14, 2007

Another thought from Malcolm Gladwell:

One of the ongoing debates in the educational community … is over the value of homework. Meta-analysis of hundreds of studies done on the effects of homework shows that the evidence supporting the practice is, at best, modest. Homework seems to be most useful in high school and for subjects like math. At the elementary-school level, homework seems to be of marginal or no academic value. Its effect on discipline and personal responsibility is unproved. And the causal relation between high-school homework and achievement is unclear: it hasn’t been firmly established whether spending more time on homework in high school makes you a better student or whether better students, finding homework more pleasurable, spend more time doing it. So why, as a society, are we so enamored of homework? Perhaps because we have so little faith in the value of the things that children would otherwise be doing with their time.

Also noteworthy is this summary of a talk he gave last year on the subject of Precociousness. The things that matter in the end aren’t obvious: Early success at learning does not predict later success at performing. Mediocre IQ can be overcome by hard work.


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