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.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Inequality: First thoughts

This book has spurred less blogging than the previous two, partly because a number of tasks and diversions have reduced the pace of reading, and partly because it's pretty thick with statistical data of 1972 vintage.  That sort of thing is interesting from a historical perspective, but it isn't inspiring a lot of thoughts to come forth.  However, one point that I do like is on page 24, where they  note that even if educational performance measures have poor correlation with long term economic outcomes that is no excuse for poor conditions in schools and no reason to not try to do a good job.  I often think that we ask too much when we demand that an educational program secure a person's future.  I know that my introductory physics course will have little bearing on the job performance of the engineers in the class, and that what will really matter is their engineering classes, design projects, and their efforts in their first jobs that launch their careers.  I also know that they will find it easier to learn certain things in those engineering classes if they understand physics, so I should do what I can for them.  Likewise, good grades in elementary school are hardly the main reason that I have enjoyed whatever success I have had in my career.  I also know that if I didn't have the foundations it would have been much harder to do the things that did lead to whatever success I have had.  Seen in that light, I don't much care if Head Start participation affects long term success rates or whatever.  I do care if it helps in early grades.  After that, I care if the early grades help in what is next, and so forth.

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