Monday, February 16, 2015

Roland Fryer, meet Tom Sowell

Thanks to Timothy Taylor for linking to this piece; 21st Century Inequality: the Declining Significance of Discrimination. Which finds that if you want to reduce income inequality among adults, start with schooling. Nothing fancy, just reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic;
During the experiment in Houston [public schools], an education commissioner from another state came to tour Robinson elementary school, one of the toughest in the city. He knew Houston and was familiar with Robinson. At the end of the tour, he pulled me aside. He had one question: “Where did you move the kids who used to go to school here?” I said that these are all the same kids, but they behave a lot differently when we do our jobs properly. They are listening. They are learning. They will live up to the expectations that we have for them.
I was a kid who went to broken schools. Thanks to my grandmother and some good luck, I beat the odds. But one success story is not what we want. What we want are rigorously evaluated, replicable, systematic educational practices that will change the odds.
What Fryer found we don't want is...the usual suspects; increased funding, smaller classes and more teacher training. In fact, he found that $20,000 per year retirees could tutor kids just as well as someone with a Masters in Education. That not wasting time in handing out tests and assignments made for more productive use of classroom hours. Even;
For no additional cost you can increase instructional time just by making kids pee more quickly. How cool is that?
 Not rocket science. Not educational gobbledy-gook;
There is nothing special about it. When the film Waiting for Superman came out, people complained that the nation is undersupplied with supermen. But an ordinary nerd like me was able to uncover a simple and readily repeated recipe for progress. Anyone can do this stuff.
Just so many $50 bills laying on the sidewalks, waiting to be picked up.

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