Study Reveals: Kids Are Stupid


Charles Murray's three-part exegesis on American education wrapped up yesterday: The three sections are here, here, and here. I'll spoil the thrilling conclusion:

Accept that some children will be left behind other children because of intellectual limitations, and think about what kind of education will give them the greatest chance for a fulfilling life nonetheless. Stop telling children that they need to go to college to be successful, and take advantage of the other, often better ways in which people can develop their talents. Acknowledge the existence and importance of high intellectual ability, and think about how best to nurture the children who possess it.

What Murray is suggesting is 1) to tamp down the hopes for average or below-average children, finding roles for them and not wasting their time with college and the promise that they can succeed in anything they choose and 2) develop a high-level education for above-average children, "to prepare an elite to do its duty." This is framed to avoid the pitfalls that Murray's theories plunged into a decade ago; that is, he doesn't use the word "race."

This is obviously politically untenable, but I wonder how much the market corrects for the relative intelligence of young people right now. Below-average people can go to college, but their records are not passed on to NASA or AEI fellowship programs. They are courted by different industries; the army, for example, spends more time spelunking for recruits from State University than they do from Yale.

Question: If some millionaire, Oprahlike, set up a high-tech grammar school for average and below-average children—with the understanding it would prepare those kids not to become part of the elite, but to become skilled in some vocations—would parents really flock to send the kids there?

Title explanation here.