Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

Full post here.  (updated)

A few key quotes:

“The first strand in explaining educational romanticism is a mythic image of the good old days when teachers brooked no nonsense and all the children learned their three R’s.”

When I was your age we walked uphill both ways…” Is that going anywhere?

“The second strand in explaining educational romanticism is the periodic discovery of magic bullets for raising classroom performance.


“The third and probably most powerful strand for explaining educational romanticism in the last quarter-century has been Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, introduced in Frames of Mind (1983).”

Gardner’s book here.

On the positive side: Charles Murray has stood for the IQ test actually measuring something and reminding us that the black/white achievement gap is statistically valid…He has become an active and important educational reformer, wresting it away from people and ideas who can do more harm than good.

On the negative side: I would question whether or not Murray achieves this criticism by adhering to certain libertarian political principles…sometimes even adhering to current political thinking. As an active reformer, what is the endgame? Politics? Education?

Addition: The best thing to do, I think, is to look at Murray’s data, and his fidelity to it.  I already agree that the claims for most social programs success are dubious.

See Also: Race and IQ: Malcolm Gladwell On The Flynn Effect and since when did romanticism become a bad word?: Roger Sandall: Marveling At The Aborigines, But Not Really Helping?

 by rsmoffat

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