Sunday, August 24, 2014

Economically poor, low performing schools

If institutionalized education functions as an adaptive group, one implication is that it should be fairly resistant to change.  Successful adaptive groups typically aren't swayed by potential freeloaders looking to do things that may only be good for themselves or a small sub-set of the population.  Now, this doesn't mean innovative behaviours aren't permitted, only that real, fundamental innovation relating to group function and moral mission is highly unlikely.

A corollary to this is that populations subject to lots of change, especially fundamental changes relating to moral mission, may be on the peripherally of the adaptive group or not part of it at all.

This leads to an interesting point: in the US, it seems like low performing schools in economically disadvantaged areas undergo significant reform efforts.  In practice this often means hopping from one reform flavour to another, often very quickly.  In many schools, such reform practices are mitigated and hybridized.  It seems to me that in these poor school forces exasperate rather than mitigate reform pressure.

Is it therefore reasonable to conclude that such schools and such students are on the periphery of education's adaptive group?  If so, will it take a major phase change back to a state more intolerant of reform experimentation to bring this population back into the adaptive group fold?

In other words, while reform efforts are intended to help out disadvantaged populations, on an evolutionary, do they do the opposite by risking population exclusion from the adaptive group?

One of the cruxes of this idea is whether the changes in poor schools are fundamental to education's moral mission or are merely superficial tactical changes.  I don't know.

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