Saturday, March 5, 2016

Quickies: The War On Competence

     Yes, another war – and this time, one you’ll have trouble believing.

     Sarah Hoyt deposeth thus:

     Both [my] boys — in retrospect — went to school knowing how to read. (We didn’t know how well the younger read, but well enough to fetch me my book as in “I left my book somewhere, it’s Death on the Nile. Go find” and bring me the right one in a household carpeted and littered with books. The older, we first spotted he could read before his brother was born, when he was not quite yet 3. And he was reading middle grade books, then. By six when he entered school we often discussed Roman history or Heinlein juveniles over breakfast.

     A few weeks into the school year, I noticed something odd. I’d gotten used to the convenience of having him fetch my book, but suddenly books brought back just had a couple of letters in the title in common. Or when we were somewhere like a museum I’d notice him “guessing” comparable became compared, say. Also, he stopped reading as much and went into comics.

     I finally lost it and asked him if he’d been hit on the head and forgot how to read. “We’re not supposed to read. We’re supposed to look at the word and guess.”

     [Emphasis added by FWP.]

     Horrifying, eh? This perversion of reading education wasn’t news to me. What caught my attention was young Robert Hoyt’s characterization of the “method” being foisted upon him. Consider the rationale Sarah suggests a bit further on, and shudder:

     A friend told me the purpose of this was to have all the kids start at the same level...

     But wait: there’s more! Sarah goes into considerable detail on the retreat from education as it was successfully practiced before contemporary educational fads took hold. She extends her survey to the accelerating penetration of other fields by incompetents. Such incompetents, should they reach positions of authority, often “protect” themselves by hiring people even less competent than they.

     Competence is being treated as a form of discrimination. Given the notorious incompetence of contemporary “educators,” many of whom are demonstrably as ignorant about the fields they “teach” as any of their students, perhaps this should come as no surprise.

     Please read the whole thing, and add to it this equally important piece by Dystopic. Ponder the likely course of a society in which insistence on “equality” forbids consideration of actual ability, and make-believe is allowed to substitute for competence in the name of “self-esteem.”


brinster said...

Since we have fluidity in gender mowadays, why not in word definitions? While we're at it, isn't it discriminatory to not let vertically challenged (we used to call them midgets) play in the NBA? Shouldn't paraplegics be welcomed into the NFL?
Hell, a carpenter doesn't have to know the difference between a nail and a staple. Let those who don't, build YOUR house then.
Idiocracy has come to pass.

Rob said...

A little while back my wife and I happened to be in a bar when their weekly trivia game began. It promised a $50 prize for first place so we decided to stay. The MC or whatever he was called must have been a history buff or received the questions from an historically competent source. All the questions were of historical significance. I do not have a history degree, but was a history major at the local state university many many moons ago. I am also a prodigious reader and an autodidact. After the dust cleared and I was declared winner by a large margin two, what I describe as Earth cookies, approached me. The woman cookie, looking at me with total incredulity in her eyes, asked me who I was. I told her I was just a regular guy. I am. She then proceeded to tell my wife and me that she and her husband were both history PhDs at the same state university that I had once attended but not graduated. And that was the first time ever that they, i guess they both used their less than adequate skills together, had ever been bested. They insisted that I must be somebody! It just never entered their indoctrinated minds that someone of average education could be better than them at their vocation. My wife and I left $50 richer monetarily but much richer in knowledge. I have thus sent my then senior high daughter to a private Chrisian university in Waco, TX rather than the same state university.

Bailey said...

Thank you for this notification. My wife & I are watching our four-year-old wend his way through JK, and amongst other things noting the enourmous difference between his report cards and the ones I received when I was in kindergarten (which I am fortunate to still have). I am seriously beginning to wonder what benefits he will obtain from a school career, beyond basic literacy and numeracy. Once those things are set, we can certainly address the rest of it ourselves much more effectively outside the school environment.
The best way to teach is by example, and I do not for a moment suppose that the public system is the best example available. If this is the best we can do, then it is no wonder that things are going the way they are.
For all the money spent, the returns are nothing short of comical at best, and profoundly disturbing at worst...

Mike in Canada