Phi Beta Cons

The Case Against “IQ-ism”

Charles Murray recently made the case for limiting educational expectations for children with modest IQ levels and for reinstating a “classical education” for the elite.
In TCS Daily, Arnold Kling rightly describes Murray’s analysis and recommendations as “simplistic.” Thus Murray “reduces human talent to a one-dimensional measure, IQ…that…does not explain how people come to acquire particular talents, in chess or art or salesmanship.” He does not give due weight to “a role for practice and dedication.” Nor does he recognize that “IQ might be a measure of the speed with which someone can absorb knowledge, rather than a measure of how much they can absorb.”
Murray makes a convincing case against formal tracking, all the while properly stressing the urgent need for alternatives to standard K-16 education. What’s needed, in sum, is a vibrant market that produces competition and educational innovation, not rigid tracking into an educational hierarchy.