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outeast2 comments on Lost Purposes - Less Wrong

68 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 November 2007 09:01AM

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Comment author: outeast2 26 November 2007 01:24:34PM 1 point [-]

people keep telling him "That's just like my job." In other words, Dilbert is a documentary. ;)

Or a horoscope...?

Back on topic (sort of)... Some of the discussion here seems to highlight to problem of resolving dual and conflicting purposes. One key purpose of schools is to educate people; in a very real sense, though, they also necessarily serve to sort those of differing abilities (whether this is an overt purpose, pace Tiiba, is irrelevant: it is a function which schools are clearly set up to facilitate, and so is a de facto purpose). These two purposes conflict, at least to a degree, in that the process of streaming leads to those at the extreme ends of the bell curve being neglected.

At the top end - high achievers - the market can provide help: it makes sense to invest in talent. At the bottom end, some kind of intervention is required (at least is schools are to continue serving their first purpose of providing education). Hence interventions like NCLB - which seems to be failing as an intervention because it is itself a casualty of legislators' own dual and conflicting purposes... And so on it goes.