Friday, April 17, 2009

Golden age of education

Right-wing pundits hate education for a lot of reasons, but chief among them is that it makes it harder for them to find suckers to enrage into their tea bag movements:

Another indication of malleability is that I.Q. has risen sharply over time. Indeed, the average I.Q. of a person in 1917 would amount to only 73 on today’s I.Q. test. Half the population of 1917 would be considered mentally retarded by today’s measurements, Professor Nisbett says.
Trot this out next time some one waxes nostalgic for the so-called good old days of American public education.

It also may explain a lot about trench warfare.


Silence Do-Good said...

That is an excellent point. I for one have bought the myth of "The Good Old Days". NeoCons continually make veiled reference to this myth to justify control of education and then information.

In the good old days, education was not encouaged for non-white-males. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

as a measure of intelligence, IQ is not influenced by education. Wiki lays the drift up on several factors, including diet and decreased pollution (mercury, Al Gore), but tying it to the measurable downward trend of the quality of public education would require extensive headstanding - pick up a 1920 yearbook from Nashua High School - I have - most of the students could understand Latin. Mentally retarded indeed

lovable liberal said...

Anonymous, you don't know what you're talking about. IQ tests have long claimed to measure some pure intelligence, but they don't. Education affects results.

The rest of your "data" suffers severe sampling errors. In 1920, the high school graduation rate was much lower than it is today. You're comparing the cream of 1920 to the whole gallon of 2009, and it's not a reasonable comparison.

Much of the success of modern public schools has to be viewed the same way: The demographics of children who now go to high school are much more challenging than they once were - more poor kids, more ESL kids, more special needs kids, more kids from homes which don't have high educational attainment, etc. If you demographically match, outcomes today are much better than they were 40 years ago and much, much better than 80 years ago.

Latin! Conservatives love Latin, but it's not the be-all and end-all of education. It's quite reasonably not a focus of today's public education, although nostalgia makes some people think it should be.

globeisatrocious said...

1) IQ tests properly measure intelligence and the only reason that scores are increasing is the blessings of public education (though weighed down by all the demographically challenged idiots that contaminate the data)

2) IQ tests don't test what they 'loong' say they test and people are no more smarter than they were 100 years ago

or 3) I am arguing with a product of the public schools who can hold two contradictory thoughts at once

lovable liberal said...

Your fallacy is the false dichotomy. Or maybe the false dickhead, I forget...

I'm guessing you don't even understand that all measurements have errors.

Wanna compare test scores?

globeisatrocious said...

Trichotomy. And yours: begging the question. I got a 93 on my driver's test.

lovable liberal said...

So I'll take that as a no on the test scores. I got a 99 on the thermometer the other day, rounded of course. Haha. So funny.

Yeah, I understood your third alleged point as a rhetorical flourish, but apparently you thought it was a serious argument. You really believe your own bullshit? Amazing.

No one - least of all me - ever claimed that IQ tests don't measure anything relevant. See if you can fit that into your resistant brain. No, there won't be a test to see if we can measure whether education has affected your intelligence.

globeisatrocious said...

>No one - least of all me - ever claimed that IQ tests don't measure anything relevant.

(I love the 'least of all me' - a self-deprecating 'me-me-me' approach right out of the Andrew Sullivan stylebook) If the test does what it should, then it measures that people are getting smarter. If it does not measure anything relevant, than you know nothing. if the cream were tested then and the test worked, then the IQ should go down with the hoi polloi mixed. I am not smart enough to follow your arguments. And never round off a thermometer during a rectal measurement.

Liberal trait #1: Intelligence fetish. Tests, scores, degrees are the measure of a man, at least a man who can tell other men how they should live their lives. (first installment of an ongoing series that catalogs liberal phenotypes).

lovable liberal said...

Conservative trait #1: Stupidity fetish.