Selective Magnet School in Virginia moving towards a lottery system

I think we probably strongly disagree with who the villains are in Rand’s books.

Here’s a hint - “slow-witted” is not a good thing to call any kid.

…and here I was thinking it was your post that had the John Galt voice down so well.

No, my position is to offer different choices.

No. As one of them at school, why would I do that?

I’m saying that thinking of fucking children in terms of “best” and “slow-witted” is a Randian nightmare society.

No, just “best” :roll_eyes:

I initially just said kids are better off learning by teaching than just being bored, actually. Then the whole currently-successful active learning pedagogy was questioned, and I responded.

Are you claiming scientists created coronavirus? Because otherwise what’s your point? You’re just highlighting how human behaviour has had a tangible effect on the environment. And then you turn around and contradict it in the next paragraph. Cognitive dissonance much?

It’s a proven fact that educating and empowering women lowers birthrates. This is not rocket science and doesn’t need a hard science answer.

No, they’re not. mRNA vaccines have been around for over a decade, the tech wasn’t newly-developed for Covid.

I trained firstly as a geologist, and then as a geographer with an emphasis on human development issues.

And your field of science is…?

And I’d expect anyone who spouts off about reducing population growth rates to know the impact of female empowerment, yet here we are…

Yes, it was - that you’ve backpedaled doesn’t change that you originally wrote about kids in transactional terms, emphasizing their lack of compensation as a negative.

The USA doesn’t lack for moon rockets. But seems awfully short on peaceful transitions of power. So no, an observation, not just an opinion.

The sarcasm you apply to such a simple concept as “children working together in a classroom” is telling.

The offer of turkey or ham is certainly a different set of choices, but for a vegetarian, it still represents an unacceptable and unjustified narrowing of what should reasonably be available.

People can still read what you wrote.

You didn’t merely suggest more flexible approaches to pedagogy – adding to the available choices – something most people here would be receptive to. You were openly incredulous and even disparaging that people might prefer, and have a right to, choices that don’t show up on your favored menu.

Something else which is worth slightly more response:

You don’t know this.

We don’t know how much more the price of renewable energy sources will drop with more scientific discovery. We don’t know whether feasible carbon sequestration technologies might become available. We don’t even know if the cost of mitigation efforts being developed might ultimately become less than the value of more carbon output (that doesn’t seem particularly likely, but it’s not strictly impossible).

Familiarity with science should lead to more circumspection about delimiting the bounds of the possible.

Why are you so incredulous that kids would volunteer to learn extra calculus, then?

The assumption here, of course, being that vegetarianism is an unalloyed good that is a reasonable alternative with no downsides

People can still read what you wrote.

Yes, and…?

I’m not incredulous, selfishness isn’t a strange phenomenon to me, but I am disparaging, yes, that people would only frame things in terms of handicap rather than benefit.

It’s true what they say - When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression. Here you are, framing things in terms of “rights”.

Kids have a right to education, they don’t have an additional overarching right to special treatment.

I do know this. And not because I’m a trained earth scientist, but because I’m an observer of human nature. If people remain greedy and selfish assholes, all the tech in the world is just going to be used to prolong the inevitable.

Because I was a kid, I’ve taught kids, and I have kids. Absent adult encouragement, what normal kid prefers extra calculus lessons over socializing?

I will grant that there are kids who would, but I think they would strongly skew to those having some kind of social disorder. And I’m only talking about normal kids. Special needs kids are a whole other topic (although “keep them with their peers as much as possible” is also the answer there)

I stayed after school to study for the STEP paper just for fun, and got a lot more beneficial socialising from that than I did when stuck in a class with normal kids who think you’re a weirdo if you like maths. I don’t think learning to be embarrassed and ashamed of my interests, and to play stupid, was a particularly valuable lesson. Perhaps you disagree.

And now we are back to ‘these are really special education schools’, which you want to deprive kids of.

Who said anything about “playing stupid”? You think being the clever one in a group of less-advanced kids doesn’t get noticed? Of course it does. I never pretended to not be well-read or able to solve classwork faster than my buddies. But we were friends and they didn’t think I was a “weirdo”. Sorry for you poor schooling.

I don’t want to deprive special needs kids of anything they need. I just don’t agree that “good at Maths” is a special need, or that staying with your cohort is a deprivation…

Well, that’s something you’re going to need to get past. In the U.S., Algebra I is taught to 9th graders as a standard and to 7th graders who are considered “accelerated” at math by the criterion of being in the top third or so of their local school district - hardly the sort of elite-of-elites we’re talking about. If someone in 11th grade is still struggling with algebra in any way, let alone to the extent that the people actually paid to teach them throw up their hands and say “let’s cancel the calculus class and have the good students try to get through to this clod, I’m out of ideas” then yeah I think “slow-witted” is a perfectly good term for that student’s math skills. Dumb, stupid, bad at math, innumerate - whatever you need to call it in order to face the reality that people have different abilities and some people are at the low end. Maybe the slow-witted math student is competent or great at history or art or playing the oboe, but at math their abilities resemble the tortoise, not the hare.

Both students deserve appropriate instruction and having the student who should be in calculus try to teach the dumbbell is not going to help either of them at math. I doubt it will encourage much “friendship” either, as opposed to frustration at the two wasting each other’s time and potential, but I honestly don’t care.

I don’t think of obvious reality as a “nightmare.” That must be a traumatic way to go through life. Things are what they are. That people, by the 11th grade, are obviously sortable into a great deal of tiers by math ability is a fact, that must precede and be accounted for by, ideology, not something you can deny because you’d prefer it not be true.

Let’s not dare call the kind of student who can’t figure out how to solve for x in 11th grade “slow-witted,” but let’s assume that anyone interested in academic achievement has a “social disorder!” That’s fine!

This is nothing more than populist meatheads shouting “NEEEERDS” dressed up as social policy. Your kind should be kept away from determining how education works with great force.

How about “No”. Done talking to you, then. Hope you didn’t put a lot of effort into that long post.

Of course I don’t. One of my friends at university learned a different lesson: he lost several ‘friends’ at 16, when maths was no longer compulsory and they didn’t need help with their homework anymore.

(And note that the tens of thousands of kids who opt to do A level maths each year are voluntarily choosing to study calculus.)

It was average to good for England, actually. There were and are much worse schools.

Level appropriate instruction is as much a need for those who are ahead as those who are behind.

Lol, indeed. But actually IME there’s a substantial correlation between ability in technical subjects and poor social skills. I just don’t think putting people with wildly differing abilities in the same classroom is an effective way to improve either.

The whole book is a straw man, it doesn’t really leave a lot of judgment calls up to the reader. It doesn’t invite you to think, it tries to tell you what to think. There are no heroes or villians just Rand’s opinion.

So you are taking issue of the use of the term “slow-witted” versus something like “less academically talented” or something like that?

Can you clarify what choices you are presenting to the child that is academically 2 or 3 years ahead of the rest of his age cohort? Because it seems like there is only one choice being offered but maybe I am missing part of what you are saying.

Why do I get the feeling you haven’t read a lot of ayn rand?

That’s a good point there are other ways to lower birth rates. But science certainly offers a very compelling pathway to lowering birthrates.

Really, please name another mrna vaccine before 2020.
Sure the idea of mrna isn’t new but isn’t the technology new?

I never claimed to be a scientist. I am an economist and a lawyer.
I was just shocked by your attitudes towards education and science.
I thought you might have been a “social” scientist or something.

No it wasn’t.
BTW, how did I backpedal? I certainly didn’t intend to.

Can you please explain your observation? How would the storming of the capitol been prevented by more friendship? I think less polarization would have helped but your arguments don’t seem less polarized. It sort of seems like you are taking a random bad thing and attributing it to something you disagree with in a debate.

And the world absolutely lacks for technology, I suppose that will always be the case. Better solar panels would help. better battery technology would help, carbon capture technology would help. More friends is nice but not quite sure how that solves global warming.

What does it tell you?

He’s not just familiar with science, he’s a scientist. A wizard should know better.

Does an alternative have to have no downsides to be a reasonable alternative? Do any of your alternatives have no downsides? Are any of your alternatives unalloyed good? Choices are frequently about tradeoffs.

From the child’s perspective, it is frequently an easy choice to study more challenging material with others who can also handle that more challenging material at the expense of being in the same class and learning at the same pace as their friends from the neighborhood.

Why do you think kids have a right to education? And if they have that right, then why don’t they have a right to an education that best suit their needs? I suppose they could always go to private school and that way only the bright children of wealthy parents can have an education that suits their needs.

At this point, I think you are straying from science and into social science. I started out in the social sciences and what you call “greedy selfish assholes” we call human beings. We hope for “enlightened” self interest from these “greedy selfish assholes” but we frequently just end up with plain old self interest (and consequently market failures).

And once again, we just had the largest drop in fossil fuel consumption in the history of the world during the pandemic and it was barely a blip. How is any reasonable change in human behavior going to change that?

Perhaps this is the disconnect, we are not talking about normal kids. These kids are about three standard deviations to the right of norm. And I don’t know if teaching less academically gifted classmates geometric proofs is really “socializing” or any more attractive to these kids than learning something new.

Or maybe they would just rather hang out with other kids like them.

The notion seems to be that special education for kids that are significantly below norm is good. special education for kids that are significantly above norm is special treatment. So tracking down is ok but tracking up is elitist.

Perhaps this is considered “encouraged by adults” (who want them to go to college and have professional careers).

To be clear, I am (or was) a social scientist (economist) so I do not believe all social scientists…

I don’t know. IME, this is all relative. At younger ages, this phenomenon largely seems driven by priorities and focus. The kids who are not as into academics focus on other things that are more accessible and socially popular than calculus or physics. At my age, the “social skill” disparity seems to be almost entirely eliminated and frequently reversed.

We’re not allowed to recognize that anyone below average exists, and if we see anyone above average we need to cut off their education and turn them into unpaid tutors and friendship trainees.

Everyone must be part of the collective gray mass, no one has any individuality or difference, and this is a good thing because now we are all equal. Mooooo.

The point appears to be to prevent them from getting ahead of their age cohort.

Hrmm. I suppose that is one answer. At least if you can’t afford private school.

I wonder how this works in the current remote learning environment. How do the kids help each other remotely? Do they each get a zoom account?

I don’t know about Zoom, but many programs offer breakout rooms that a teacher can bounce between. The whole deliberate stunting thing aside, small group work is pretty common IME and certainly doable with online platforms.

The term “of course” should ordinarily be reserved for statements for which there would be immediately broad agreement, rather than those statements that are patently false.

“Unalloyed good” and “no downsides” are – of course – fabrications.

You made them up.

And so when you write things that convey a different meaning or emphasis from what you previously wrote – even when this is entirely innocent and unintentional – other posters can point out the apparent tension. Sometimes this tension is direct contradiction. Sometimes it’s just simple misunderstanding.

For example, there is some small tension in the quote just below. I’m not saying this is contradiction. It’s just something to point out:

But this is the very incredulity to which I was referring in my previous post:

I did.

This, too, is incredulity:

More importantly, this is also a false dichotomy.

My friends and I were socializing as we were teaching ourselves at a faster pace than the regular class. For a time, we had no teacher telling us to shut up about football as they lectured. We talked as we learned. At least, until we were no longer allowed to do so.

As for “selfishness”: some of the most glaringly selfish personality types in this world are those people who, steeped in vast conceit, advocate the use of hierarchical power to restrict the options of their perceived mental and moral inferiors based on an illusory belief – or possibly even deliberately false sociopathic pretense, as an excuse to exercise power – that they consistently know what’s best for other people, better than those other people know for themselves.

“Equality” is very often just a fancy way to say, “Everyone, equally, should do exactly as I say.”


I’ve advocated giving children some manner of choice in their education.

You advocate stripping particular choices.

You denigrate the disapproved choices of other people as “privilege”.

You would deprive equally all students of certain options you disfavor, all in the name of “equality”.

Then you call people “selfish” for wanting an educational path that might better suit their own preferences and abilities, rather than the forced path you, or others of similarly stunted belief systems, would gleefully force upon them in an exercise of hierarchical power over schoolchildren, who should all be educated in the officially sanctioned way.

I’m not certain whether most forms of the educational system are “oppression”.

At least, I wasn’t “oppressed”.

That word was (of course) yet another fabrication on your part when you falsely attributed it to me. I never said it.

But I know people who felt they were oppressed – bullied, ignored, deprived, even abused – by the educational system. And I know people who believe that most students in institutional educational settings feel some level of that darkness, even if not always its deepest levels.

People aren’t the same.

They have different wants, different needs. It is, of course, always possible that the bullying mentality will be victorious, the mentality that wants to force all of these different people along an identical path, so that each and every individual is “equally” under-served by the system in which they find themselves.

In the other direction, the more fair and reasonable direction, in which we try to accommodate the disparate preferences of different students equally, there are costs – yes, and I have never denied this – in trying to tailor the educational experience to individual idiosyncrasy. It’s not always possible.

In an ideal world, we would try to carefully balance the benefits with the costs. We would do that much more often.

But in this world, there are many selfish people, as you have so helpfully observed so many times.

And unfortunately, many of those selfish people spend much of their time trying to tell others the one right path that everyone else “equally” should follow. These people dress themselves up in different ideological labels, some of these labels very fancy. Chic, even.

But fundamentally, they’re all the same. They just like telling other people what to do.

One of the problems we face in choosing a better path is that so much of our free energy is spent in fighting this urge to dictate, this desire to lord over others, that there is simply not much initiative or political will left to improve the things that are in front of us. That is unfortunate. But it’s where a large part of the world is stuck.

This is quite clearly false.

If scientific progress of the right sort is sufficiently robust, bringing down sharply the cost of alternative energy and carbon sequestration – or some other set of technologies which we cannot yet presently imagine – then it will not matter in the slightest how the “greedy and selfish assholes” behave.

If scientific advance brings down the cost enough, a consortium of governments can do it, regardless of all those selfish assholes about whom we both grouse so much.

If scientific advance brings the cost down yet further, a single government can do it.

If scientific advance brings the cost down yet again, Bill Gates can do it.

Selfish and greedy assholes will switch to renewables if those renewables are cheaper, just like everyone else will do.

Waiting on the tech fairy is NOT a strategy I recommend.

But it’s not outside all possibility. We don’t actually know what tech remedies might be coming. We don’t know what is possible.

Claiming otherwise is simply foolish.

Why would the King Of All Education ever allow the little peons below to organize private schools?

The Great Hierarch would have everyone “equally” under the same thumb.

Well, with that amount of direct personal namecalling, I’m out of the thread. Enjoy the echo chamber, elitism advocates.

Modnote: This thread is done to death. I’m closing it now.

I was going to go through this whole mess of a thread and issue warnings, but I don’t have the bandwidth tonight.

This will be staying closed, though.