I was aghast! If I don't get an 'A' on every single thing, I'll have you sacked? That's completely appalling. But in light of David Brookes Op-Ed piece in the New York TImes on July 12 2012 where he said our elites stink, I am seeing an abhorrent system being set in place.
Some of the most valuable lessons I learned when growing up was a) how to fail, b) that I am often wrong and c) critical thinking.
Failing is not pleasant but its what you do with it that's valuable. As a successful scientist, I've tried dozens of experiments, as a programmer I've tried millions of experiments. Most fail. You learn to give up only when you've exhausted all hope of it working. With code, it will always work, you just need to find the way to make it work.
Being wrong is also unpleasant and knowing you are wrong is great because it allows you to figure out where you were wrong and learn something better.
And you can't learn from being wrong and failing unless you have critical thinking.
Education makes you happy. But I can't help but wonder what education the elites of silicon valley are giving their kids if their kids are so coddled. Sure, there is no doubt these kids are going to go to Stanford or Harvard or where ever they choose, but its very unlikely they'll be either good scientists or intellectuals. Being either requires knowing there's a slap down waiting if you happen to fail and being wrong gives, so it prepares you to makes sure you are 100% right when you say something. How can you learn the humiliation of failing and being wrong even in a safe environment when being assured your test results do not count? So these coddled future elite will stick to banalities and the same old drivel everyone has said before when their times to take center stage.
As I said, I read the op-ed piece by David Brooks "why our elites stink". But I am not sure what the alternative is to a merit based system except to broaden the qualification of 'elite' to include attributes of selflessness when you have never learned the humiliation of failing and being wrong even in a safe environment. But it seems that Ayn Rand is in full ascendancy at the moment, and I do not believe it is doing anyone any good.
"The main problem of a "merit-based" society is when merit is DEFINED as money -- the only measure of merit becomes how much money you can make, and any method you use to get it is fair game (assuming you are clever enough not to get caught). The flipside of this then becomes that anyone who is not rich, is simply "not as good" -- they are considered to be not as smart, hardworking, or worthy, as evidenced by the fact that they're not drowning in Scrooge-McDuck-esque money bins. Once the belief that "rich people are simply better" sets in, predatory practices are easily rationalized -- after all, the poor aren't even really *human* under this logic, just a resource to extract labor and/or money from when possible."
The corollary is that poverty is a choice! I can so imagine waking up one morning saying: wouldn't it be cool to be poor, NOT! Clearly the education system failed him as we can see from the abundance of misspelled words. Whereas I hear so many moaning about how cool it would be to be poor in the US. It is not cool to be poor anywhere, especially in the US where there are no safety nets.
Education is failing America and mostly because the rich want to privatize education for the sake of eliminating the expense of paying for schools. Education should be a right, not a luxury and the problem with this luxury is that the kids aren't learning the lessons that will make them great people, those of failing, being wrong and how to think.
Before you go moaning about education not being in the constitution, wonder about what it'll cost the US if our kids aren't educated. Our kids are our future and saving you a few pennies is penny wise, future foolish.