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The Difference Principle in Action: Misconceptions in Education
Right Reason, the weblog for philosophical conservatism ^ | March 11, 2005 | Steve Burton

Posted on 03/13/2005 9:28:23 AM PST by RightReason

I just came across a recent presentation on educational policy by Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) to the National Governors Association. (You can read it here.)

Since I've spent the last few years teaching math to high-schoolers, first at my local public high school in rural Virginia and more recently at a private learning center serving the Korean-American community in the Washington D.C. suburbs, I take more interest in pre-college level education than most trained philosophers.

Briefly, I think that America's public high schools are an unmitigated disaster. And I am sorry to say that Gates' presentation epitomizes the sort of empirical and philosophical misconceptions that have made them a disaster.

(1) Empirical misconception: countless low-income and minority students long for rigorous college-preparatory courses but are forced into "math (or whatever) for dummies," so to speak, by prejudiced teachers and administrators. According to Gates, "In district after district, wealthy white kids are taught Algebra II while low-income minority kids are taught to balance a check book!" He asks, plaintively, "how would you respond to a ninth grader’s mother who said: 'My son is bright. He wants to learn. How come they won’t let him take Algebra?'"

(Excerpt) Read more at rightreason.ektopos.com ...


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KEYWORDS: billgates; education; gatesfoundation; minorities; philosophy

1 posted on 03/13/2005 9:28:24 AM PST by RightReason
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