Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society by Mario Vargas Llosa.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reaction to chapter 6

Chapter 6 makes a good case that there's more than one way to teach (though one should take these rosy stories of STEM education miracles with a grain of salt, especially when they come not from somebody in the trenches of STEM education but rather from a law professor).  Prof. Guinier makes a good case that many people can succeed, even those who don't come in with the strongest performance on traditional measures of merit.

However, if she wants to argue that there is a path to democratizing higher education, and breaking through the stranglehold that certain elite classes have on elite institutions, she still has to answer this question:

Five years after you've changed your admissions requirements to something more aligned with democratic merit, if you should find yourself with a situation of ten thousand students applying for one thousand spots, will the thousand students who rise to the top of your metrics be predominantly students whose parents and counselors figured out how to ace those metrics of democratic merit?  Will they be predominantly privileged students with parents and teachers who groomed them for the new process?

I'm not interested in what happens when we adopt new mindsets and new methods.  I'm interested in what happens a few years later, when people have had time to figure things out and respond accordingly.  Maybe it's my education in economics showing, but if you aren't taking competitive responses into account then you don't have a proposal that makes sense for wide adoption.

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