Re: EDUCATION: Genius Schools

Alexander Chislenko (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 23:30:45 -0500

I agree with David Musick in general, and disagree in some things;
here are some thoughts on the subject:

The society tries to spread the education resources evenly, and even
puts more money into educating retarded people than average, and more on
providing appropriate education to normal people than to "severely gifted".
It's like trying to drill for oil more where the oil isn't, "to give all
lands equal chance". They always invest money where the returns are most
promising. Except in people. Though if the money that goes to make a
mediocre accountant out of a person who has no interest or ability to
learn math, went instead to teach calculus to an able and willing child,
the second of them would make money for both, and the society as a
whole would be much better off.

That is to say, that the resources should be put where the abilities are.
I am also convinced that the idea that everybody has great - and equal -
talents, is just an egalitarian/PC myth. People are quite different
physically (where you do need standards for sexual compatibility and
handling the external world); so what is the reason to think that they
are identical mentally, where the standardization is less noticeable or
crucial (especially since the highest rational intelligence became crucial
only after the evolutionary process in humans essentially stopped).

>... The school will have a tremendous number of tools and resourses for
>students to use, to create things and thus learn from experience, and as
>improve their skill at making things, they can begin selling what they make
>and working with teams of other students to sell what they make and have
>own businesses, so that they can continue paying for their schooling, so
it is
>self-sustaining. Creating and running one's own business would be part of
>school and part of a much larger, life-long education.

Most important thing, it seems, is to give education at an early age, when
one can't expect self-sufficiency. Also, one may be able to earn money in an
area different from what he wants to learn. So in many cases coupling things
may not be such a great idea. Another option would be to work at your regular
job, and listen to lectures-for-geniuses at your spare time. You still have
to have the lectures organized though, I agree.

>Grades and degrees are meaningless in this type of school since each student
>is responsible for acheiving the results they want, and they will be
>constant feedback on how well they are doing. One doesn't need a degree to
>"get a good job", since the point is to become a free agent and create one's
>own business.

Aren't grades and degrees a feedback? They do exactly that: say how well
you are doing now, and whether the teacher thinks you learned the course.
Jobs without degrees bring another issue - it turns the gifted school into
an autonomous economic and political unit. Which is a whole new set of

A good example of efforts in this direction is gifted children education.
I have more than enough bitter experience with it in this country, especially
in the Peoples Republic of Cambridge where all humans are supposedly more
equal than anywhere west of China. There are also some good things about it,
and useful resources; Giftednet and TAG (Talented And Gifted) mailing lists,
EPGY (Educational Program for Gifted Youth) in Stanford for remote learning,
etc. Maybe they may have other ideas on how to organize things you want.

>-- We have no idea what we are capable of; no one has ever taken themselves
>to the limits of human potential. --

I actually think that we do have a pretty good idea; good education should
make a great difference, but not miraculous - and it probably will not get
implemented until strong mind-enhancing technologies come along.

Also, if we want to get more talented people in the society, there seems to
be a much cheaper and faster method than any school. What are your criteria
for a talented person? IQ > 160, eloquent in at least 3 languages, is able
to gracefully juggle and dance, beats 99.99% of Americans in chess, handles
calculus... Set these requirements as criteria for free immigration into
U.S., and you will have a long line of people at the border, asking you for
a chance to utilize all those skills. There is no government-sponsored or
private effort, as far as I know, to find such people abroad, invite them
in, or even just utilize the talents of those who come here by themselves.
"You were the best surgeon in your country? OK, but you don't have a license
to practice here. Can't do plumbing either..." This country doesn't seem
actively interested in acquiring or supporting intelligence in any form.
Which doesn't mean that a small group of talented people can't do anything
Alexander Chislenko Home page: <>
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