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> Students progress through subjects independently of their peers and the other subjects they are studying.

The usual objection to this is people's aversion to having children at vastly different levels of physical development in the same classroom. Personally, I don't know whether to buy that argument, but it sounds worth expanding upon.

> Students graduate school when they have reached a certain level of competency in all subjects. This could take an arbitrary amount of time. e.g. it might take one student 3 years but another 8. But once a student graduates they will be competent.

OK, but at age eighteen, physically preventing them from leaving is against the law, and will likely be punished.

I'm only half-joking:

At some point, the law recognizes people as full adults, and it is much more difficult to legally restrain an adult, even if they're reading at a fifth-grade level.

Personally, I think the answer to that is more and better trade schools, and increased governmental public works programs, but such ideas went from being All-American in the 1930s to Socialism in the 1950s, and we're still not quite past that yet.

More than their physical development, is their emotional development. My son was quite capable of passing 2nd grade math tests when he was 4. If all we looked at was academics, he really should not have been anywhere near a kindergarten class. However, he was not emotionally mature enough to move up three grades. How much you can teach at once, the kids tolerance for repetition whenever they already understand what has been explained, their reactions to frustration and happiness... Having kids of different ages that are ready for the same material is challenging.

I think the future is more automated, independent learning. At my kid's school, a good chunk of the math curriculum is taught by computer. They go to a lab, and get to play math games that change according to their success with what they've been presented already. So if a kid has trouble adding small numbers, he'll get more of those problems than a kid that has that figured out, and can move forward to adding large numbers, multiplication, division, or whatever else still challenges him, regardless of his age.

This also handles attention span issues. If a kid can be challenged with new exercises and learn for an hour and a half straight, great. If another one has trouble learning new material late in a class, he will do worse, and face easier material as the class goes along.

"All-American in the 1930s to Socialism in the 1950s, and we're still not quite past that yet."

Socialism was "All-American" in the 1930s. Then history happened and it garnered itself a rather nasty reputation, which it went to great, great effort to earn fair and square.

Your first point is a concern. Maybe there can be some kind of "social class time" where students spend time with kids their own age. Since they are learning more efficiently there is probably time for this :).

Re your second point. It's just a graduation, no one is forced to stay in school.

> some kind of "social class time" where students spend time with kids their own age.

how about physical education (i.e., sports)? you'd usually want to group similarly aged students in those, lest you have a 16 yr old competing against a 10 yr old.

What 'trades' do you think will prepare people to be economically self-sufficient?

Let's see. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, . . . . the skilled trades are pretty great. It's tough because trade work tends to be cyclical with the housing market and construction but it's not a bad way to go. The pay for a journeyman plumber in NYC is $55k. After doing that for a while you start a small shop and hire a few people. It's a great road to the middle class. Much better than forcing people into shitty four year degrees that wind them up in call centers or mobile phone mall kiosks.

If you manage to implement national policy that sends 80% of the U.S. population into those trades, they'll pay a lot less. Simple supply and demand.

Like the CNC machining meme. If you reengineer society so that everyone below the top 5% of their high school class becomes a CNC machinist... it's not going to be a rare and valuable skill anymore.

Imagine what will happen if you double the supply of those trades. I think you'll find they aren't pretty great anymore.

very reasonable point. On the surface. But MV=PQ

MV=PQ is a tautology

Can you explain how V isn't going to make a difference? The statement that adding more people to the trades is going to have a crowding out effect strikes me as economically naive.

On the surface it seems like you're arguing that there is not enough room in the trades for more tradesman. However adding a good chunk of people to the trades will increase the velocity of money in the form of more people spending more dollars based on their higher salaries. The alternative is that the demand for trades is fixed, which doesn't make much sense to me.

Adding more tradesmen will not increase the demand, and so will not result in any increase in the velocity of money.

The demand for trades may not be fixed, but it is not proportional to the number of tradesmen. Most likely it's proportional to overall economic activity in some way. Doubling the number of tradesmen will not double economic activity across the whole economy, or likely have any significant impact on demand for tradesmen, so the value of tradesmen will drop until some are forced out and an equilibrium is reached, probably not far off where it is now.

Increasing the wage of people who would otherwise earn far less will absolutely increase the velocity. It's preposterous to say that it would be one to one, I never made any such claim. However, your argument is that we are somehow at a perfect equilibrium with tradespeople. That's just not the case. I feel like you're throwing your lot in with freshwater economics which has a pretty terrible track record.

Ok - fair point about the increase in velocity. But the increase in velocity will be distributed across the whole economy, and therefore of minimal impact on the tradespeople, whose value will be diluted in proportion to the supply.

I don't think he is saying people should be forced into school if they don't graduate by 18. just that they can't graduate (get a diploma) until they actually learn all the material.

Isn't that true today? Surely you won't get your diploma unless you get minimum necessary grades on the necessary exams.

Sure, but unfortunately the minimum necessary grade is currently a 50% "just managed to cram in enough rote learning in the final week to scrape by" pass mark.

50% and 100% obviously don't mean anything by themselves.

You can have a minimum of 50% and still have kinds know 10 times more than what a minimum of 100% course has them. 50% of an advanced course is better than 100% of a course for idiots.

It's all about the breadth and deepness of the material, not some arbitrary mark on it, like 50%.


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