Things Bill Keller Knows Yet Are Not True

NY Times op-ed columnist Bill Keller is at it again on education. The most recent installment (boldface mine):

Let us count the ways. The decline of our education system is exaggerated but real, especially in the scientific and technical fields. The Internet has made it harder to enforce intellectual property rights, creating havens for pirates and narrowing the advantage of innovator over copycat.

Where does he get this from? According to the NAEP, TIMSS, and PISA exams, scientific proficiency is increasing. Compared to the 1960s and 1970s–Keller’s generation–where the U.S. routinely finished dead or near last in international comparisons–U.S. students are doing better internationally. Yes, the generation that pioneered personal computing, improved and commercialized the laser, and successfully landed people on the moon did worse comparatively speaking on international tests than today’s kids. Despite this failing educational system, we are producing so many STEM PhDs we have a glut.

Could we do better? Sure. Some states, along with poor children, do poorly at science. I would like everyone to know more science. But I don’t even know how Keller comes up with this idea of decline. It’s not “real.”

Keller is a former editor: he’s supposed to know what words mean.

The mind boggles. This is willful ignorance that rivals that of creationists. It matters because it blinds us to the real problems facing our educational system.

Ask yourself this: what data, if not three different educational assessments, could possibly convince Keller to change his mind?

Exactly.

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1 Response to Things Bill Keller Knows Yet Are Not True

  1. Min says:

    “what data, if not three different educational assessments, could possibly convince Keller to change his mind?”

    You’re assuming that Keller has actually looked at the data. Editors do not look at data, that’s for reporters or experts. Keller is most likely relying upon what someone has told him.

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