Thinking is Hard

Ever wonder "why are people so stupid?" - or, more properly speaking, why so many people say and do so many stupid things? I could write an entire article devoted to stupid ideas. I could try to fix the "SIWOTI"http://xkcd.com/386/(Someone is Wrong on the Internet) problem once and for all. And Sisyphus could, given sufficient… Continue reading Thinking is Hard

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Reading Improves Reading

From the "in other news, water is wet" file: Summer Reading Loss Reversed When Students Get Books to Keep On average, 80 percent of low-income children lose ground in reading proficiency over the summer.  Reading is Fundamental (RIF) wanted to cut that percentage in half. They did even better. How? RIF distributed books which children… Continue reading Reading Improves Reading

Things Parents Can Do

The Economic Policy Institute recently released a report:  Five Social Disadvantages That Depress Student Performance (Why Schools Alone Can’t Close Achievement Gaps). The EPI being what it is - a think tank which promotes government solutions - it behaves as if it has a hammer and everything is a nail. Leaving that aside, there are… Continue reading Things Parents Can Do

Educating the Poor

Many people claim that government must educate, because otherwise the poor would not be able to afford education for their children. The only problem with this theory is the facts. There can hardy be any educator in America who is unfamiliar with the "achievement gap." No informed educator should be ignorant of the colossal failures… Continue reading Educating the Poor

Until Then: When Homeschooling and Free Markets Are Not (yet) a Viable Option.

Many folks claim to "agree in principle" with home education, genuinely free-market schools, co-op schools, and complete separation of school and state, but also claim that "it isn't politically feasible yet." They said that about marijuana legalization and other positions too. Suppose you want to do better for your children, and cannot yet see how… Continue reading Until Then: When Homeschooling and Free Markets Are Not (yet) a Viable Option.

Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

Many people who talk about "culture wars" are like bulls distracted by a red cape: aiming at the wrong place entirely. They're looking for certain results instead of methods; at ends rather than means. This way leads to confusion. A growing body of research about education is finally paying attention to the crucial role of… Continue reading Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

Nuke Government Schools? A Thought Experiment

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry proposes a thought experiment: Imagine that omnipotent space aliens from the planet Zyrglax land on Earth and take control of the United States. But these aliens are somewhat bizarre, and they change only one thing: they teleport all [government] school buildings into the sun, and prohibit the government from any action or law… Continue reading Nuke Government Schools? A Thought Experiment

What Are We, Chopped Liver?

The literature of schooling - self-styled "education" by its proponents - is a literature which at best ignores parents, and often disparages their participation. We parents are left asking "What are we, chopped liver?" There is a certain bitter amusement to read of the "30 million word" research, that educators spent so much effort trying… Continue reading What Are We, Chopped Liver?

Educators: When A Child’s Time is Considered Valuable

One may learn from home-schoolers, without doing homeschool. Of course, some folks might first have to admit that homeschooling is actually possible; professional pride prevents many educators from noticing that something really interesting is happening among 4% of the children in America. One of the first lessons learned from homeschooling practice is that the "standard"… Continue reading Educators: When A Child’s Time is Considered Valuable

The Word Deficit and the Tar Pit

Who knew? It turns out that one of the biggest differences between children of well-to-do vs. poor parents, is that the latter children have a serious deficit of words. Well-off children, on average, hear about 30 million more words in the first three years of their lives. This article explains some of the research. Children… Continue reading The Word Deficit and the Tar Pit