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Monday, November 8, 2010

Granola-Bar “Knowledge”: a healthy diet?

You can bring a horse to water, but he’ll only drink it if you add Kool-Aid
– Boethius, Jr.

Preparing for the Scholastic Aptitude Tests has long been a big business. Twenty years ago 1 in 9 high school students paid for private SAT coaching. And almost half of all high schools back then offered SAT preparation. It has grown into even more of a frenzy.

What is knowledge? Some item is knowledge if it is being tested by the SAT’s.

Is this item true? Is it useful? Does it really matter? Will it change your life? Can you build on it? Will it expand your perspectives? … Is someone asking a question?

Some item is knowledge if it is being tested by the SAT’s. Regurgitating it will help you get into college where you will acquire a degree of questionable market value. And unless your parents have a lot of money, you will also acquire a huge debt needing to be paid off.

Once you are in college, you will learn that knowledge is whatever items professors put on their exams. Or whatever state boards will test you on. Are those items true? Are they useful? Do they really matter? Will they change your life? Can you build on them? Will they expand your perspectives? … Is someone asking a question?

To examine these issues further, see Knowledge as a Commodity

Cordially
--- EGR