Friday, April 4, 2008

No (Mexican) Child Left Behind

"Soaring dropout rates. Pitiful scores in math and science. A proliferation of so-called 'trash universities' that offer diplomas but little learning. By all accounts, Mexico's education system is in serious trouble. ... Today, virtually all children attend elementary school and three of every four attend middle and junior high school, up from six of 10 in 2000. But the poor quality of that education has thwarted efforts to modernize the economy, trapping the country in a cycle of poverty and low-skilled labor. That pattern has fueled the wave of illegal immigration to the United States. ... Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a Harvard-educated lawyer who succeeded Fox, is aware of the problems. They include huge inequalities between private and public institutions and between the country's more prosperous north and the impoverished south. ... 'We won't permit Mexico to be seen as a country of failures,' Calderon said. ... His plan seeks to replace the prevailing system of rote learning with one based on critical thinking. ... 'It's been clearly demonstrated that the higher the level of schooling, the higher the productivity of the labor force,' said Rodolfo Tuiran, Calderon' undersecretary of higher education. ... Critical to those efforts is a new culture of accountability and standardized testing, officials and experts say. ... But independent education experts say any successful reform effort must involve confronting the powerful 1.6-million-member National Education Workers' Union. ... Mexico annually invests about $70 billion in education, a higher share of its [GDP] than most industrialized nations. But it has little to show for it", Marion Lloyd (ML) at the Houston Chronicle, 30 March 2008.

Mexico's "No Child Left Behind" will succeed as well as ours has. Not at all. Mexico will waste billions. Look at the federal takeover of the Kansas City school system. A total failure. But the kids got swimming pools! No one wants to face the real problem: IQ! Racism? Racism! No, reality. Mexico's illegal immigrants to the US primarily come from its south, where the residents average IQ is about 82. Who believes that moving these kids north of the Rio Grande will change that? I remember New York City's "skip zoning" in the 1960s. "Experts" claimed that by having Negro children sit next to Caucasian ones, through an osmotic process no one could explain, their classroom achievement would improve. That didn't happen. Mexico's education "investments" will prove wasteful. It would do better to put up factories. These books may shock some readers tender sensibilities, but I suggest reading: IQ and the Wealth of Nations, 2002 and IQ and Global Inequality, 2006, both by Lynn and Vanhanen. Prepare to be enlightened.

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