Important update: I have to apologize to Ben Wildavsky. I have made an accusation of him expressing racist views and now find out that he actually argued the total opposite. I strongly urge every reader of this post to read his WSJ review and you will see that he disagree strongly with Murray. Murray however seems to be the one totally responsible for the idea of some people having inherent intellectual limitations. I am deeply sorry for not reading the whole article which hopefully would have prevented me from this mistake.
When Learning Has a Limit – WSJ.com: ”The problem with American education, according to Mr. Murray, is not what President Bush termed the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ but rather the opposite: Far too many young people with inherent intellectual limitations are being pushed to advance academically when, Mr. Murray says, they are ‘just not smart enough’ to improve much at all. It is ‘a triumph of hope over experience,’ he says, to believe that school reform can make meaningful improvements in the academic performance of below-average students. (He might have noted, but doesn’t, that such students are disproportionately black and Hispanic.)
Thus students are being steered toward college when many should be directed toward jobs for which they are better suited. At the same time, Mr. Murray argues, we’re giving short shrift to the academically gifted, who ought to be offered a rigorous education appropriate to their abilities rather than having their classroom experience dragged down by low-IQ underachievers.”
(Hittat via Old Whigs tweet.)
This is a quote from Wall Street Journal and the author is Ben Wildavsky, former education editor of U.S. News & World Report, and a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Wildavsky agree with the idea of Charles Murray from his book Real Education that some students (which I have not read therefore unclear how many and who they are) just are not smart enough. Although Wildavsky know who they are – black and Hispanic. Could you imaging an article in a Swedish major newspaper publishing the same kind of explicit rascist views.
However, the issue is of course valid. Could it be that some people just are not smart enough to make meaningful improvements in academical performance. I would say, with some extreme exceptions, that this is not true. Peoples capabilities to improve are almost endless. They can be hampered by their background, socio-economic and other, by circumstances and of course by a school system that do not support them.