Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Why successful Charter Schools fail

By Andrew Atkin:

Remember the old school Certificate system, where we failed half the country and only because the other half did better. This is because we (or the guys behind the scenes at least) understood the real purpose of highschool: To filter different types of students.

The idea was to send the less academic types on their way to get on with their lives, so they could move to the trades, or other, and get ahead. Saving the tax-payer a lot of money, and of course the students themselves a lot of time and money.

On a developmental level highschool is a waste of time. Most of the learning content is worthless and only superficially learnt (remembered - not digested) which is probably the real reason why healthy young minds hate it. It's rubbish learning so of course it hurts, and it's most likely meant to hurt because boredom-tolerance is in fact an important part of being academic. We need to know if you can and will take the pain.

Now if 'signalling' is the true essential purpose of education (yes it is) then we have to ask ourselves: Where do "successful" charter schools stand in that purpose? Are they working as an accurate human filter, or are they merely passing people through who should not be passed, and in turn setting them up for failure for when they come to apply for a job that is not suited to them?

I would say it is the latter. Again our best research in education suggests that education is mostly about signalling for ability that was already there, as opposed to developing ability.

I will make it simple: Other things being equal, the student with an IQ of 120 but with no degree is a much better deal for an employer than a student with an IQ of 100 and a degree. In fact an IQ of only 100 will make you incapable of functioning in many professions, no matter what paper qualifications you might have accumulated. You will never hear this from the education industry of course, because their bottomline is to maximise demand and expand their services. But it's true.

So this is how charter schools can fail. When you pass students through who should really be failing then your education system is failing. Finding innovating ways to make lower IQ students look like higher IQ students is not success. It's just delaying failure, setting people up for heartbreak, and increasing costs.

If we really want to revolutionise highschools, then we should make them more practical. Open them up to trades-training and the like, so young people can have something real going forward into the workplace. Not just the temporary illusion of success.

-Imagine being able to walk into a $30 per-hour practical job straight out of highschool, because you're already relevantly skilled. A better idea? I think so.

Extended article: