Monday, December 12, 2005

The American Thinker

The American Thinker: "Quotas aside, the lessons of blue-state California should be clear to anyone with more than a passing interest in school choice and segregation. Stated bluntly, white liberals will object strenuously to school choice and racial segregation as long as their children are in the majority and among the top performers in school. However, when their children are fewer in number and relegated to the lower tiers of academic performance, they will happily embrace school choice and voluntarily segregate the public schools by moving to whiter school districts or sending their children to private schools.
If these demographic trends continue, the most likely fate of suburban schools in California and other blue-states with large concentrations of Asians such as New York, New Jersey and Maryland, is the emergence of a new "separate but equal" system of education mirroring the defacto segregation of schools in America's largest cities.
But, but, I thought the liberals wanted more diversity and academic achievement. Actions speak louder then words, but I wonder what they are trying to do to their children.

Obviously maximizing their potential is not the parents highest priority, though this article doesn't go into what they do want. Extracurricular activities are certainly good, but sports and drama will not provide prosperity to most who go down that path. A local company here has a few Olympians on the staff, they are not doing anything remotely related to sports at an electronics company.

Sports and drama and the like are not bad things, the physical and emotional talents of our children should be encouraged. But I wonder, like other scientists, why they don't give school letter jackets to the chess team. Might it be to give the students consolance when they are old and realized they had reached their peak before they could vote. Might that be a cause of the mid-life crisis?

Public schools are not good at maximizing their subjects potential. They are bureaucracies and bureaucracies are good at labeling things and perpetuating themselves. Solving the problem they were created to solve becomes something that needs to be sustained for the sake of the bureaucracy rather then resolved for the sake of the public.

While learning math and science is a good thing in my eyes, I know that a bureaucracy will mess it up some way so that the children will still not reach their full potential.

How do we help our children reach their full potential? Find what they do best and help them hone it to the finest edge, help them become virtuosos in their talent. Find what they love to do and help them find a way to do it profitably.

We need to expand our thinking beyond the normal because there is more then one way to skin a cat.

There is a story of a girl who started playing the piano when she was very young, she loved the piano and played it all the time. She went to music school and was very good at playing the piano, but when she went to New York she auditioned for all the orchestras and while she was very good they always found someone just a little better then her. Finally she went home, got married and stopped playing, now she doesn't even have a piano in her home at all.

This is a sad story. Not only has she buried her talent, but now no one else can benefit from it either. She had a highly focused goal of playing for a major New York orchestra, which is good but she turned her back on it when things didn't go the way she planned. There are other ways to play the piano profitably (teaching or playing for special occasions) but profit doesn't have to be a part of it playing even for just the enjoyment of it if fine. Turning her back on the piano is the saddest part of all.

Schools are not setup for providing for the excellence of our children. We must help them in spite of the system and we can.


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