Saturday, February 23, 2008

On Education

The comments by Gregory Cochran on this Steve Sailer post bring up an interesting question:

Is the primary purpose of getting a kid a "good education" really about improving aptitude (I'm assuming that Cochran is talking more about aptitude tests than tests of knowledge) test scores and getting him a higher paying job? If that is the case, yes, innate ability generally seems to be a much more important factor.

However, are there other benefits to having a "good education," such as a happier time in school, perhaps a better knowledge of culture and literature, and the like? Is the quality of education really unimportant to quality of life, or is it just that it does not create the material benefits that many people assume is its primary goal?

The thing that troubles me about Cochran's observations is the question of how far can you take the "innate ability thing" before how you treat a kid actually has consequences? Could we just stop all education and let all of the kids run wild? Could we lock them all up in closets for the first eighteen years? Is there any point in caring for our kids at all? Or is it just that virtually every kid in the U.S. receives the minimum level of care before the marginal returns on extra care diminsih to near-zero?

That is all.

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