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How Boomers Ruined Education

The late historian Tony Judt, Cambridge-educated and a man of the left (in case you didn’t know), says his generation has a lot to answer for regarding what they’ve done to education. [1]Excerpts:

My greatest debt [as a King’s College, Cambridge, student], though I did not fully appreciate it at the time, was to Dunn, then a very young college Research Fellow, now a distinguished professor emeritus. It was John who—in the course of one extended conversation on the political thought of John Locke—broke through my well-armored adolescent Marxism and first introduced me to the challenges of intellectual history. He managed this by the simple device of listening very intently to everything I said, taking it with extraordinary seriousness on its own terms, and then picking it gently and firmly apart in a way that I could both accept and respect.

That is teaching. It is also a certain sort of liberalism: the kind that engages in good faith with dissenting (or simply mistaken) opinions across a broad political spectrum. No doubt such tolerant intellectual breadth was not confined to King’s. But listening to friends and contemporaries describe their experiences elsewhere, I sometimes wonder. Lecturers in other establishments often sounded disengaged and busy, or else professionally self-absorbed in the manner of American academic departments at their least impressive.

There is more of that in King’s today than there used to be. As in so many other respects, I think our generation was fortunate: we got the best of both worlds. Promoted on merit into a class and culture that were on their way out, we experienced Oxbridge just before the fall—for which I confess that my own generation, since risen to power and office, is largely responsible.

What does he mean? More:

For forty years, British education has been subjected to a catastrophic sequence of “reforms” aimed at curbing its elitist inheritance and institutionalizing “equality.” The havoc wrought in higher education was well summarized by Anthony Grafton in this magazine [2], but the worst damage has been at the secondary level. Intent upon destroying the selective state schools that afforded my generation a first-rate education at public expense, politicians have foisted upon the state sector a system of enforced downward uniformity.

The result, predicted from the outset, was that the selective private schools (“public schools”) have flourished. Desperate parents pay substantial fees to exempt their children from dysfunctional state schools; universities are under inordinate pressure to admit underqualified candidates from the latter and have lowered their admissions standards accordingly; each new government has instituted reforms aimed at compensating for the failed “initiatives” of their predecessors.

“A system of enforced downward uniformity.” Boy, I’m glad that’s Britain and not America. Heh. More:

I suspect that all this began precisely in those transitional years of the mid-1960s. We, of course, understood nothing of that. We got both the traditions and the transgressions; the continuities and the change. But what we bequeathed to our successors was something far less substantial than what we ourselves had inherited (a general truth about the baby- boom generation). Liberalism and tolerance, indifference to external opinion, a prideful sense of distinction accompanying progressive political allegiances: these are manageable contradictions, but only in an institution unafraid to assert its particular form of elitism.

Universities are elitist: they are about selecting the most able cohort of a generation and educating them to their ability—breaking open the elite and making it consistently anew. Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are not the same thing. A society divided by wealth and inheritance cannot redress this injustice by camouflaging it in educational institutions—by denying distinctions of ability or by restricting selective opportunity—while favoring a steadily widening income gap in the name of the free market. This is mere cant and hypocrisy.

Read the whole thing. [1]I found it in “The Memory Chalet,” [3] a posthumous collection of Judt’s essays.

UPDATE: An Evans-Manning Award to Turmarion for this excellent comment in the thread below:

Excellent article, and I’d pretty much agree with Judt. The only thing I’d add is that there seem to be four really major problems in education here which have resulted in the dumbing-down at all levels.

One, the “reform” efforts of both left and right have pretty much devolved into pure ideology with no relationship to actually teaching anyone anything.

Two, of all the professions, teaching seems most prone to fads. Remember when TV in the classroom was supposed to revolutionize education? Then computers, then the Internet, then web-based classes–you get the picture.

Three, related to two, the belief that there is a “royal road to education”–some magic fix that if we just do it will make all our kids above average, just as in Lake Wobegone.

Four, related to three, the concurrent stigmatization of blue-collar work with the belief that “all children can succeed”, which usually comes down to telling the baldfaced lie that everyone is college material; which just feeds the educational-student-loan industrial complex, which donates to politicians’ coffers, etc.

Having said this, abolishing, destroying, or marginalizing public schools, as many would like to do, isn’t the answer. Fixing it is the answer, and a lot of that goes down to getting bureaucracy (federal, state, and local) off the backs of schools, reforming (not abolishing!) unions, going back to a more elitist core curriculum, and jettisoning fads, IMO.

Of course the hugest problem is the culture. People just don’t respect teachers (often, sadly, for good reason) or even worse, they don’t value education per se except in an instrumental way (i.e. getting the piece of paper to get a job). As a son of public school teachers, a public school teacher myself for two or three years as a substitute and two years full-time, and the father of a child in public school, I have to say that the extent to which parents just don’t give a damn is appalling, and has only got worse over the last forty years.

True story: when my daughter was in kindergarten, we arranged a meeting with the teacher to discuss a minor issue. When we got there, the principal was there, too. Not that there was anything bad going on; but that she was practically dancing with joy to be able to work with us to solve the issue, since we were the only parents that had actually showed any interest in being involved. She’s in the third grade now, and I teach CCD classes for middle schoolers at my parish; and my observations in all those cases indicates that unless it’s a matter of sports, parent participation doesn’t get any better with higher grades.

Of course, how one deals with such a culture I have no clue.

I do think this article [4] in The Atlantic today is interesting and relevant.

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31 Comments To "How Boomers Ruined Education"

#1 Comment By Turmarion On April 27, 2012 @ 8:27 am

Excellent article, and I’d pretty much agree with Judt. The only thing I’d add is that there seem to be four really major problems in education here which have resulted in the dumbing-down at all levels.

One, the “reform” efforts of both left and right have pretty much devolved into pure ideology with no relationship to actually teaching anyone anything.

Two, of all the professions, teaching seems most prone to fads. Remember when TV in the classroom was supposed to revolutionize education? Then computers, then the Internet, then web-based classes–you get the picture.

Three, related to two, the belief that there is a “royal road to education”–some magic fix that if we just do it will make all our kids above average, just as in Lake Wobegone.

Four, related to three, the concurrent stigmatization of blue-collar work with the belief that “all children can succeed”, which usually comes down to telling the baldfaced lie that everyone is college material; which just feeds the educational-student-loan industrial complex, which donates to politicians’ coffers, etc.

Having said this, abolishing, destroying, or marginalizing public schools, as many would like to do, isn’t the answer. Fixing it is the answer, and a lot of that goes down to getting bureaucracy (federal, state, and local) off the backs of schools, reforming (not abolishing!) unions, going back to a more elitist core curriculum, and jettisoning fads, IMO.

Of course the hugest problem is the culture. People just don’t respect teachers (often, sadly, for good reason) or even worse, they don’t value education per se except in an instrumental way (i.e. getting the piece of paper to get a job). As a son of public school teachers, a public school teacher myself for two or three years as a substitute and two years full-time, and the father of a child in public school, I have to say that the extent to which parents just don’t give a damn is appalling, and has only got worse over the last forty years.

True story: when my daughter was in kindergarten, we arranged a meeting with the teacher to discuss a minor issue. When we got there, the principal was there, too. Not that there was anything bad going on; but that she was practically dancing with joy to be able to work with us to solve the issue, since we were the only parents that had actually showed any interest in being involved. She’s in the third grade now, and I teach CCD classes for middle schoolers at my parish; and my observations in all those cases indicates that unless it’s a matter of sports, parent participation doesn’t get any better with higher grades.

Of course, how one deals with such a culture I have no clue.

I do think [4] in The Atlantic today is interesting and relevant.

#2 Comment By JB On April 27, 2012 @ 8:34 am

As a “middle-aged” person going back to graduate school at a moderately prestigous east coast university, I have noticed a trend I saw starting a couple decades ago as an undergrad: an alarming disinterest in academics by a majority of students to the great frustration of a minority of intellectually curious students. An inordinate amount of time is spent in class calling on obviously unprepared and disinterested students. The genuinely academically curious students grow frustrated at the subsequently dumbed down interaction and then lose interest themselves.

I don’t blame the uninterested students, however, university level learning isn’t for everyone. But we have set up a system where the Bachelor’s degree is a required resume item and therefore college classes must be suffered through with a minimum of effort between football games and frat parties (not bad in and of themselves, but not the primary aim of a university education). At many universities, it isn’t until graduate schools where serious learning begins. We have essentially turned some of our best universities into four year community colleges, where only half the students graduate with no appreciable skills. (By the way, I intend no disrespect to community colleges, I believe they hold the key to a productive, skilled workforce in the 21st century, and are much better geared towards teaching job ready skills than four year academic institutions.) Universities should be aimed at the advancement of knowledge through interactive research and debate between students and professors. The current goal of sending every feasible student to get a Bachelor’s degree has distracted universities from this aim.

#3 Comment By Don Quijote On April 27, 2012 @ 8:41 am

Damn those boomers, they only created the pc, the internet, mapped the human genome, invented robotics and created the most advanced technology base the planet has ever seen.

And they did all that without blowing up the planet…

#4 Comment By Zathras On April 27, 2012 @ 8:50 am

The world lost an intellectual giant when Judt died. The world needs more people like him with the ability and strength of convictions to call out his own side for their past sins. This has actually been a large swath of Judt’s work, especially his criticism of the postwar Left for its denial on the horrendous history of communism.

#5 Comment By Mary Russell On April 27, 2012 @ 9:02 am

A bit OT, but his book “Postwar”, a history of Europe after World War II, was one of the best histories of any era I’ve ever read. It was really a page turner, with illuminating comments made on nearly every page, and a book I return to frequently.

#6 Comment By Fred On April 27, 2012 @ 9:06 am

Diane Ravitch on Bobby Jindal’s “reform” of public education in Louisiana:

[5]

#7 Comment By Joel S. Gehrke On April 27, 2012 @ 9:08 am

The human mind is capable of mastering Latin, Greek, and calculus by age 14. What about the wasted time?

This is what is really going on: We didn’t love our kids. We loved ourselves and refused to let go of our own childhood. Consequently, we warehoused them, as if they were criminals in a penitentiary. As a result, they are asked to delay sexuality. Surprise! They refused. Enter mass illegitimacy. Thinking that money is a proxy for love, ee threw more money at the problem, replacing the small, intimate educational setting with behemoth educational facilities with really nice swimming pools and tracks. It didn’t work. Our schools became slow cook breeding grounds for the kind of behavior that comes out of penitentiaries.

Teachers weren’t ABOUT to bitch about education getting a larger share of the financial priority. Politicians had no problem widdit either. Conservatives who opposed the sale of our children got demonized, marginalized, and churned into butter. Enter home schooling, and the enclavization of literacy.

Why is this hard? Am I the only guy that knows this? Oh, yeah, that’s right. I’m 53 years old. I saw the whole thing.

#8 Comment By Carlo On April 27, 2012 @ 9:17 am

“Boomers” is a sociological explanation. The problem is strictly philosophical: post-1960 liberalism is Marxism without the revolution, i.e. the absolute supremacy of the economic-instrumental dimension of life over the contemplative-religious dimension. If truth and knowledge are not on the table, there can be no education because there is nothing to be interested in (except making money, of course).

#9 Comment By David J. White On April 27, 2012 @ 9:17 am

Four, related to three, the concurrent stigmatization of blue-collar work with the belief that “all children can succeed”, which usually comes down to telling the baldfaced lie that everyone is college material; which just feeds the educational-student-loan industrial complex, which donates to politicians’ coffers, etc.

One of the consequences of this, of course, is relying on the bottom class, sometimes illegal aliens, to do jobs that are “beneath” all “regular” Americans, whose destiny *must* be college and the professions.

The son of a former colleague of my father used to mow lawns in the summers to earn money when he was a teenager. He ended up turning that into a small lawncare business that thrived for many years. Nowadays too many people seem to have the idea that that sort of manual work is “beneath” their children — who can’t get those jobs now anyway if they tried, because they’re all being done by illegal aliens who, if nothing else, know opportunity when they see it, or by adults who can’t find anything else.

#10 Comment By German reader On April 27, 2012 @ 9:19 am

I don’t know anything at all about American education so I won’t comment on it but I have something to add about Britain: The architect of the destruction of the grammar school system was Labour politician (and member of the Fabian society) Anthony Crosland (cursed be his name). He was born in 1918. Hardly a member of the baby boomers generation. Unfortunately the rot that has destroyed much of what was once great about Britain has its roots much farther back than the 1960s (in some ways arguably even in the 17th or 18th century).

#11 Comment By richao On April 27, 2012 @ 9:25 am

Damn those boomers, they only created the pc, the internet, mapped the human genome, invented robotics and created the most advanced technology base the planet has ever seen.

Those damn boomers, however, had the benefit of an education system that had not been subjected to their reforms. Let’s see how things develop over the next forty years, as the products of the boomer-reformed education system enter positions of corporate and political leadership.

#12 Comment By Peter On April 27, 2012 @ 10:16 am

I admire Judt a lot, and this article is a great example of why. Liberalism has always had that strange tension with elitism, since in principle liberals are against elitism but in fact many of them are elite. It was too hard to foresee that in going hammer and tongs against elitism liberals were trying to destroy what made them who they were.

Turmarion’s comment is a great reminder of the importance of culture. Policy-makers are faced with the same problem with education and obesity. As hard as they try to solve the “factors” that they can control, the problems are caused by factors which they cannot control without destroying liberty. The so-called food desert issue we dealt with a couple weeks ago is a perfect example. Reform would be easy if food deserts were actually the problem, because that’s fixable. But food deserts aren’t the problem, changes in lifestyle and freely-made choices are the problems.

Education is the same way. Put all the technology in classes you can afford, castigate teachers all you want, test the kids till their eyes melt, and it’s still all going to add up to a problem politicians cannot solve.

#13 Comment By Jon On April 27, 2012 @ 10:28 am

Fortunately this has not, for the most part, happened to post secondary education in the United States, but it did ruin City College in New York. Open admissions were instituted in around 1970. Note the list of prominent alumni, and where the drop off happens.

[6]

#14 Comment By Sam M On April 27, 2012 @ 10:43 am

” they don’t value education per se except in an instrumental way”

Isn’t this how most people vhave valued education throughout hisotry? Maybe not book-learning, but remember, the idea that we should all do at least 12 years of book learning is a new phenomenon.

Sure, a lot of parents have no interest in getting involved in the school’s mad quest to send everyone on earth to college. But… aren’t most parents ctually right about that?

I would suggest that the way to get more parents involved would be to focus MORE on the instrumental value of education. I think you are more likely to get parental butts into seats if you promise a path to a good life, rather than making some bizarre claim that it’s important for Junior to be in school because if he doesn’t stay in school he won’t get into the Women’s Studies Graduate Program at Stanford.

Focus on basic reading, basic arithmetic and basic job skills. These are the things people actually care about.

#15 Comment By Sean On April 27, 2012 @ 11:28 am

One place the left has screwed up in the past has been in the area of education reform. Thomas Dewey’s reforms didn’t work especially well, but they’ve been regurgitated by our educational-industrial complex and sold back to us as “new ideas” every few years. (ED Hirsch’s “The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them” is the book to read on this.)

There are a lot of culprits besides Dewey, of course, but to me one of the keys is the social status of teachers.

Currently, teaching attracts few of our best and brightest. I don’t think it’s just about money (although they could stand to be paid more, frankly), rather it’s about status. We often say, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” which, as the son of a schoolteacher, ought to offend me more than it does. Culturally, to become a teacher is to have failed to become something “better.”

This is in no small way related to the American preoccupation with making money and being a “producer”–when an individual’s value is bound up almost exclusively in the material goods he brings into the world, such squishy occupations as teaching inevitably drop as indicators of social status.

This creates a feedback loop, wherein the top students are encouraged by their culture to go into things like investment banking, and Ed School is for many a backup plan if they don’t get into law school or land a good job. Until pushing numbers around on a spreadsheet is valued less than nurturing the minds of the next generation, we’ll continue to have subpar schools.

#16 Comment By Shelley On April 27, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

Teaching is not valued because children are not valued in our culture. Not one occupation dealing with children is valued or well paid, except maybe child psychiatry.

As a teacher and the wife of principal I can tell you for a fact that the system cannot be fixed by more top down imposition of solutions. It must be fixed in the same way that all things are fixed, by innovation and action from the bottom up. In other words, cultural change that starts tiny and grows slowly.

This I believe is one of the effects of the homeschool movement. It is a bottom up response to the failure of education and educational reform. I can’t speak to the effect home schooling has in the lower 48, but in Alaska it is making a significant and slow moving difference.

15 years ago a single law in Alaska was changed allowing parents to enroll children out of the district they lived in. The consequence was that a state funded home school initiative sprung up from the tiniest and poorest school district in the state. People who wished to home educate could enroll in this district, receive some funding towards books, supplies and certain private lessons, and a computer. They received a contact or advisory teacher and were asked to agree to the mandatory testing of their child. 60 people signed up for this in 1996.

Today nearly every school district in Alaska offers some version of this program because the original program syphoned off so much money from other school districts that they had to respond by offering *competition* and *good customer service* to the parents who were attempting to leave their districts! Home education in Alaska is big business! Not only are school districts beginning to operate as businesses, but whole industries of people offering services to home schooling families have sprung up…book suppliers, private tutors in the art, language instructors and so on.

The ability of school districts to respond creativly following a business model is changing how education funtions here. Whether this is an imporvement or not remains to be seen. But the bottom line is that action by parents who had a CHOICE in how to educate their child has created a movement of change that is forcing public education to adapt.

Keep watching…it may be the wave of the future………

#17 Comment By Rebecca Trotter On April 27, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

Re Parental involvement. I wonder how much of the problem of a lack of parental involvement comes from the negative experiences a lot of parents have with schools. There is nothing more frustrating that trying to work with a school that insists it’s sh*t don’t stink. I could fill up pages with stories of my own experiences trying to work with schools over the years. Books could be filled with the stories I have heard from other parents. I am a very interested, involved parent – I homeschooled my 2 boys for 8 years! Frankly, the better part of why I homeschooled was because it was easier than trying to work with the local schools. I’ve had my kids in public schools for the last 3 years and I still think it’s easier to do it yourself than to try and work with the schools if a problem or concern comes up.

Right now two of my girls are in the local elementary school which is run by a wonderful principal and they have been excellent to work with. But I dread the day my older girl heads off to the middle school which has a really awful principal. (Principal’s make or break a school, imo.) Trying to work with the middle school over problems involving the bullying of my 12 year old son and his need for gifted education was such a nightmare that I eventually just pulled him out. It was like banging your head against a wall to try and deal with them. He’s doing online schooling now.

Unfortunately, many schools don’t want parental involvement; they want parental obediance and grovelling. I know that there are some parents who have the attitude that teaching their kids is the school’s job and leave it at that. But I also know that there are a lot of parents just turning a blind eye because trying to be involved is simply a lesson in frustration and futility.

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 27, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

Can’t add anything to what Turmarion said, but Don Quijote adds some valuable balance in perspective. Trying to attribute this to generations and Boomers reminds me of Vonnegut’s term granfalloon… a way of categorizing people that has nothing to do with how God gets things done in the world, or, for that matter, human inspiration. “My generation” is a term of intellectual narcissism, lacking real substance.

#19 Comment By Linda On April 27, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

Many of Rod’s posting and comments seem to assume “liberals” are a monolithic group, which is also true for conservatives. The words liberal and conservative are close to meaningless, but the stereotyping is considerable.

Several of the above comments have associated liberal to boomers, which is not factual.

“”When someone says ‘baby boomer,’ you think of a former hippie who went to Woodstock and took recreational drugs,” said Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University. “You really can’t make that kind of generalization.”

Read more:
[7]

Note insignificant difference between the “Silent Generation” and boomers in a 2010 table:
[8]

#20 Comment By stef On April 27, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

*Boomers* ruined university education? Most American Boomers were in college themselves (the men studiously avoiding getting drafted for Vietnam) when the huge push towards liberalization of “standards” commenced. By professors and administrators who were (probably) Greatest Generation themselves.

Why? Because it’s actually pretty moral to pass people who would otherwise get forced to serve in an unpopular and unjust war, through an immoral means like a draft (when our own country was not invaded/attacked.)

In short, it’s impossible to blame anyone for the changes in “the idea of a university” without taking Vietnam into account.

Also, if you read Diane Ravitch’s book on the history of American education, you see that many changes (in the US, at least) were initiated before the Boomers came of age – or before they were even conceived. Practices such as mandatory high school education during the Depression (keep ’em out of the labor force), for instance, changed secondary schools from college-prep places to general education – and many people then and now were and are not intellectually suited to, interested in, or capable of withstanding the kind of college education where you had to know Greek *and* Latin as entrance pre-requisites.

The other 1200-lb gorilla in the room are the several US Supreme Court decisions which make it illegal to ‘screen’ potential employees in any way which might have a “disparate racial impact.” Employers (when they bother to hire anyone at all), can demand college educations in their contenders because it’s a liability-free, no-cost-to-them way to screen.

#21 Comment By texasaggiemom On April 27, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

Sam M. said: “Focus on basic reading, basic arithmetic and basic job skills. These are the things people actually care about.”

I spent the last 3 months volunteering in my daughter’s 3rd grade classroom, working with 5 kids who were deemed most likely to fail the state mandated reading test. (I have a M.Ed. and I’m a certified teacher.) There are only 20 kids in her class. So, by 3rd grade, 25% are not proficient in basic reading comprehension. Their parents are CLEARLY not reading with them at home, because a lot of their problem with comprehension was their utter ignorance and lack of background knowledge of any topic that didn’t have to do with Disney shows, Nickelodeon, or the latest superhero movie. It was utterly depressing how little these kids knew about the world around them. I can (and did) improve their decoding skills, but it takes engaged parents actually reading and talking with their children to broaden their horizons enough to do well in school.

Just one anecdote from one school, I know, but I bet it’s not an isolated one.

#22 Comment By JonF On April 27, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

Stef,
I’ve called BS on this “non-testing” claim before and I guess I have to do it again.
There is no law– none at all– which prevents employers from administering tests to prospective employees. And in fact many do exactly that. I was tested for most of the jobs for which I have been seriously considered. Sure, some potentially boased tests are out of order, but so what? Plenty of tests, from skills-tests to “personality tests” are not. (And if you actually want a racially biased test used– well, out of respect foe Rod’s rules here I will not utter what I think of that)
However there are plenty of traits that you cannot test for, and a college degree is proxy for some of them, like diligence and perseverance. That’s why degrees have come to be so important.

#23 Comment By Don Quijote On April 27, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

Fortunately this has not, for the most part, happened to post secondary education in the United States, but it did ruin City College in New York. Open admissions were instituted in around 1970

By 1970 the oldest boomers were in their mid to late 20’s. I don’t think they had much to do with that decision…

#24 Comment By Noah On April 27, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

JonF,

There is no law– none at all– which prevents employers from administering tests to prospective employees. And in fact many do exactly that. I was tested for most of the jobs for which I have been seriously considered. Sure, some potentially [biased] tests are out of order, but so what?

Private employers are not permitted to give general aptitude — i.e., IQ — tests. The Supreme Court (not, significantly, our elected representatives) declared in Griggs v. Duke Power (and some related rulings, IIRC) that aptitude tests are inherently racially discriminatory, and that private employers may only use tests that meet a standard of “business necessity”. “So what?” you ask? Well, employers trying to fill entry-level positions, or trying to decide among equally-experienced existing employees for promotion, cannot even attempt to measure the candidates’ general level of intelligence — a factor which has enormous value in predicting one’s future performance. How does an IQ test violate the Constitution?

There is a major employer — a former employer of mine — who is exempt from this madness: the armed forces. The ASVAB, which I and millions of recruits have taken, is a standardized aptitude test, much like the SAT (I and II) and ACT. Potential recruits earn scores in various categories, and, most importantly, earn a “General Technical” (GT) score, which is based on reading comprehension and mathematical proficiency.

This GT score is much like one’s SAT I or IQ score (indeed, the GT is set up on a 100-median scale, such that most people’s GT is within a few points of what they would score on an IQ test). The GT is used to screen out people of very low intelligence — by law, the military can only accept a fixed, small percentage of recruits who score below the 50th percentile for all test-takers, and none from below the 30th (IIRC). The GT is also used for placing recruits among the military’s many occupational specialties: certain fields, such as intelligence and elite combat units (e.g. Army Special Forces) have higher IQ cutoffs.

If aptitude testing is not unconstitutional and not “racist” — indeed, highly useful — for the armed forces, why is it evil and racist and un-American for private employers?

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 28, 2012 @ 1:03 am

I was put through four IQ tests during my years in public schools. They show I am somewhere between 70 and 145.

Arthur Jensen, widely decried or admired as a racist (both sides of that being wrong), identified that black children in rural Georgia decline in their IQ scores as they age, suggesting to him that something about growing up black in rural Georgia depresses IQ from what it otherwise would have been.

#26 Comment By JonF On April 28, 2012 @ 6:38 am

Re: Private employers are not permitted to give general aptitude — i.e., IQ — tests.

So what? As I pointed out there are all manner of other tests that they can give. IQ (whatever it is) is hardly the only trait one is looking for in an employee, and I would personally rather have a coworker who was a bit dense than one who was bright but dishonest, lazy, arrogant or just plain mean.

Also you are incorrect about “aptitude” tests in general, as I have had one such given me while applying for a job. It was not an IQ test per se, but it did resemble a sort of dumbed down SAT.
Again I reiterate: employers are NOT banned from testing applicants and many do so. The only tests that are out of bounds are those which have a proven track record of racial bias. Why in the world any honest person thinks such tests should be used is rather eyebrow raising. The point of any such testing after all is distinguish applicants from one another on the basis of skills and ability– not provide an excuse for a lily-white workplace.

#27 Comment By KevinV On April 28, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

I expect that as the fruits of their labors become more and more known and the tally of their score is added up, we’re going to see one heck of lot of these baby boomer swan songs. It’s a good thing there are a lot of them because they have much to answer for.

#28 Comment By Don Quijote On April 29, 2012 @ 9:36 am

I expect that as the fruits of their labors become more and more known and the tally of their score is added up, we’re going to see one heck of lot of these baby boomer swan songs. It’s a good thing there are a lot of them because they have much to answer for.

Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964, in the 60’s the oldest amongst them were barely in their mid 20’s, so you can’t blame them for the 60’s, in the seventies the oldest were in their early thirties and the youngest in their teens, hard to blame them for the 70’s, in the 80’s the oldest amongst them were in their forties and the youngest in their twenties: now we can start blaming them for Reagan, Bush Sr, the $3 trillion added to the Federal Debt, the Moral Majority and all the various religious hucksters, the various wars of the eighties, the deregulation of the 90’s and all the other bad stuff that happened post 1980….

#29 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 29, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

Wow. Like the ordinary Jew wondering why his rabbi didn’t clue him in on the global Zionist conspiracy, I am appalled that my fellow boomers never dragged me into the grand effort to ruin public education. Sheesh.

Public education was the first fatality in the culture war. That’s how I see it. Instead of being the great equalizer — and it was, and I will assert that to my dying day despite not knowing where to find statistics about it, and I don’t care, nyah nyah — it has become the great blame locator.

First they took away the music classes, and I mourned it’s loss silently. Then they took away the shop classes, and I silently mourned my inability to find an adequate car mechanic. Then they took away the advanced placement classes, and I silently mourned the decline in American-trained scientists and doctors. They’ve replaced it all with a politically correct delusion the every child can do anything his or her parents say they can do, and I silently mourned the parents winning of the lawsuits.

At least more people are beginning to realize what they’ve lost, and are joining me in mourning. That’s a bit of a comfort.

Oh, and I was born in 1956.

#30 Comment By Nick On April 30, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

I have an idea to fix education. Close down 2/3rds of all colleges and universities. This would make the surviving institutions more competetive and would force the K-12 educators to better prepare their students for working in the real world.

#31 Comment By dr blais On March 23, 2013 @ 11:06 am

what about sports where all the money is spent. why do we pay coaches and athletes millions, while teachers ( probably one of the most valuable jobs to society ) starve, and anyone who would make a really good teacher, can not afford to be a teacher, or will choose anything but because, teacher do not get paid enough to live. they should be paid like doctors and lawyers for their value to society. and are dumb ass athletes should be the ones starving and single