Friday, February 20, 2009

Sailer on Education Spendulus

This gave me a chuckle:

Why does everybody always assume it's a self-evidently good idea in the public schools to send good teachers to teach bad students, when nobody thinks that way about any other form of instruction?

For example, Tiger Woods' swing coach, Hank Haney, is often considered the best golf instructor in the country. And everybody simply finds that perfectly reasonable: of course Tiger has the top swing expert. The best student can absorb the most wisdom from the best teacher. And of course the best teacher wants to teach the best student.

Yet, if I were to apply Arne Duncan's conventional wisdom about public education to golf teachers, I'd say: "It's a national disgrace that the best golf teachers waste their time on the best golfers. Why is Hank Haney frittering away his time trying to cut Tiger Woods's average score from 68 to 67 when he could be cutting my average score to 96 from 114? [Estimate based on my one round of golf in 2008, assuming I hadn't given up keeping score on the third hole in shame.]

Granted, Haney could only cut my score by 18 strokes if I also went and practiced what he taught me. Admittedly, even though I live three blocks from a driving range, I've only hit one bucket of balls there in the last nine years. But the reason I never practice must be because of society's soft bigotry of low expectations based on what my swing looks like. (I have this feeling that other golfers at the range would say to me, "Hey, buddy, Charles Barkley called. He wants his swing back.")

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