Thursday, February 04, 2010

Moron Testing

Just got this email from my MIL:

Last night i happened upon a presentation in Barnes& Noble by some guy shilling his SAT prep business. He has written guide books, ergo B&N allows him to do these self-promotions. He gives them several times during the year.

I stayed to hear the whole pitch (one hour) which had all to do with techniques for test taking. What a scam, with eager parents willingly soaking up every word as though this had any relation to "learning", "education", even subject mastery, not to mention the ends of philosophy...virtuous life....or even taking into account that under the current administration, those Ivy grads' high- paying jobs are getting to be illusory!

What I took away from this is that you ought to start up something like this...
The high-paying rewards of SAT prep go to those who devise the gaming of the test system.

I could go on... You really should give this gun-less robbery some consideration.
btw He was hyping prep for PSAT...starting in 8/9th grade.


I feigned shock and dismay that she'd advocate *thievery* on my part! And I told her that if I was going to steal, I'd be efficient about it and go work on Wall Street.

Recently a friend of mine emailed me a two-variable linear equation. He asked me how to *compute the slope*. My response, to this IVY LEAGUE GRAD(!), was a curt hyperlink to a site explaining the elementary concept. But why was he suddenly re-interested in 7th grade algebra?

He told me that he was applying to be a tutor for Kaplan - the testing prep concern.

So there you have it, even their credentialed tutors don't really KNOW the subject matter!!!

He also told me that Kaplan said to him and other would-be tutors:

KaplanTutorSeminar - You're not here to teach them math. Whatever knowledge they bring to the table is it....Your job is to teach them the tricks of the test.

Actually, I think the job of Kaplan, Princeton Review, and the other testing companies is to simply make the parents feel better; to make them feel like they *did everything they could* for their abused children.

This begs the question of how unethical it is to exploit or profit from the ignorance of others. For sure, there's a blurry line there.

Fools and their money will inevitably be separated, that's an empirical reality. I say just let it happen, don't make it your life's mission to accelerate the process. Abe Lincoln had that great line:

Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief -- resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. - July 1850.

Though I admit this is a tough issue or question for those few among us who are deeply concerned about Christian morality and such.

I mean seriously, it can be argued that a freakin' restaurant exploits ignorant people - those who can't cook for themselves!

I guess that morally, ideally we should produce something (rather than skim), or provide a service, that people actually *need* rather that what they *want*....charge a fair price and make sure that the buyers aren't going into debt to compensate you. Perhaps the case can be made that a profoundly moral businesswoman shouldn't even accept credit cards, no?

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