When I initiated research which would culminate in the report, The Elephant in the Classroom, I didn’t worry about politics, but thought the best approach was to follow the research and see where it led.
But as I review the report now, I realize that both liberals and conservatives may use parts of these research data to support their own political views. Here is a brief review of some of the major findings that could impact politics.
One is that IQ is a valid concept. While this idea may be tolerated by conservatives, it is probably opposed by most liberals. This is because conservatives seem more realistic about human limitations while liberals, bless them, want the best for everyone and like to believe all people have the same abilities and the same potential.
The conclusion from the data indicating that only about 30% of our students have the motivation and abilities to do real college work is probably opposed by both liberal and conservative politicians, regardless of what their own private thoughts might be.
The idea that some private charter schools do well because of the creaming process and selection factors is probably more in accord with the teachers’ unions and a more liberal outlook.
The conclusion that high-stakes academic testing is overdone and can even be harmful, again, is more consistent with a liberal outlook.
The research that shows that it is quite difficult for some families to support their children’s school efforts, and that all of the federal programs and all “The King’s Horses” aren’t going to change that much, may be be more in line with conservative thinking.
The fact that preschool programs and federal housing programs have not been successful is also in line with a more conservative political view.
The concept of parent trigger which transfers powers from education officials and teachers’ unions to parents is a more conservative concept which “The Elephant” does not support, unless and until a realistic view of the school in question is undertaken.
“The Elephant” doesn’t like teacher transfer, even though most teachers’ unions want to keep all teachers working.
The research showing that public magnet schools and other schools of excellence are doing well because of the selective creaming process is not too popular with the educational establishment.
The “Elephant” supports more money being spent on public schools if they will acknowledge individual differences and use much of this additional money to set up career education programs. Conservatives feel that additional funding has not helped in the past, but they may support an infusion of money if it leads to less crime and an enhanced workforce.
This is just a small sample of the findings and as you the reader can see, the research was not reviewed with a political position in mind.
For more information, go to my website, mack-hicks.com and check out Mack’s Journal, or purchase the report The Elephant in the Classroom at Amazon and elsewhere for $1.99.