Sunday, January 21, 2007

Aztecs vs. Greeks

In his final essay, Murray argues that we should identify our top 10% of smartest kids and make sure they get "training as citizens" and "encouragement of wisdom."  Gee, while we're listing the feel-good nostrums, what about motherhood and apple pie?
Of course our schools should be preparing our students to be good citizens and trying to give them wisdom, but why on earth would we limit this to only the children who've been blessed with the best combination of good genes, parenting and schooling?!  ALL great schools do the things Murray calls for, regardless of whether they educate the most privileged or the most disadvantaged children.

On Education
Aztecs vs. Greeks

January 18, 2007; Page A17

If "intellectually gifted" is defined to mean people who can become theoretical physicists, then we're talking about no more than a few people per thousand and perhaps many fewer. They are cognitive curiosities, too rare to have that much impact on the functioning of society from day to day. But if "intellectually gifted" is defined to mean people who can stand out in almost any profession short of theoretical physics, then research about IQ and job performance indicates that an IQ of at least 120 is usually needed. That number demarcates the top 10% of the IQ distribution, or about 15 million people in today's labor force -- a lot of people.

 Subscribe in a reader