TCS Daily

A Preference for Ignorance

By Arnold Kling - August 17, 2006 12:00 AM

"When Consumer Reports rates cars, they drive them; [U.S. News and World Report] does the equivalent of measuring the amount of steel used in cars, rather than their performance."
-- Richard Vedder

In the fields of health care, education, and assistance to poor countries, we rarely measure value properly. It seems as though we prefer to be ignorant about what succeeds and what fails. We know shockingly little about the cost-effectiveness of very expensive programs.

The gold standard for cost-effectiveness analysis is a controlled experiment, also known as a randomized trial. Randomized trials are commonly used in determining the effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals. However, they are almost never used in determining the effectiveness of a new education method, a foreign aid program, or a non-pharmaceutical medical protocol, such as the decision to send a patient with a back injury for an MRI or to follow patients with a particular heart problem with visits to a cardiologist, say, monthly vs. annually.

MIT's Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee wrote recently about the difficulties in measuring value of foreign aid. One problem is that researchers try to shortcut the process of randomized trials. For example, he wrote,

"A study of schools in western Kenya by Paul Glewwe, Michael Kremer, Sylvie Moulin and Eric Zitzewitz compared the performance of children in schools that used flip charts for teaching science and schools that did not and found that the former group did significantly better in the sciences... An intuitive assessment might have readily ascribed the difference to the educational advantages of using flip charts, but... Perhaps the parents of children attending these schools were particularly motivated and this motivation led independently both to the investment in the flip charts and, more significantly, to the goading of their children to do their homework. Perhaps these schools would have done better even if there were no such things as flip charts.

"Glewwe and company therefore undertook a randomized experiment: 178 schools in the same area were sorted alphabetically, first by geographic district, then by geographic division, and then by school name. Then every other school on that list was assigned to be a flip-chart school. This was essentially a lottery, which guaranteed that there were no systematic differences between the two sets of schools. If we were to see a difference between the sets of schools, we could be confident that it was the effect of the flip charts. Unfortunately, the researchers found no difference between the schools that won the flip-chart lottery and the ones that lost."

This is a classic illustration of what in statistics is known as the difference between an observational study and an experiment. In an observational study, the researcher does not determine which group gets the "treatment" (flip charts in this instance) and which is the control group (no flip charts). In an experiment, the researcher does determine who gets what.

Observational studies often result in incorrect attributions of causal relationships. For example, the press recently reported a study showing a relationship among teenagers between violent behavior and watching pro wrestling on television, as well as another study showing a relationship between teen sexual activity and the time they spent watching television programs with sexual content. However, as observational studies, these cannot demonstrate causality. It could be that a teen with a propensity to be violent would prefer to watch pro wrestling, and a teen with a propensity not to be violent would prefer to watch something else. All else equal, watching pro wrestling could turn out to have no effect, or even a dampening effect, on teens' propensity for violence. To establish a causal relationship between what teens watch on television and how they behave, one would need to conduct a randomized trial in which the programs that teens watch are determined by the experimenter.

Costs and Benefits

The tendency in health, education, and foreign aid is to take the view that more is always better. Instead, cost-benefit analysis could substantially improve the return on investment. For example, Banerjee wrote,

"The cheapest strategy for getting children to spend more time in school, by some distance, turns out to be giving them deworming medicine so that they are sick less often. The cost, by this method, of getting one more child to attend primary school for a year is $3.25. The most expensive strategy among those that are frequently recommended (for example by the World Bank, which also recommends deworming) is a conditional cash-transfer program, such as Progresa in Mexico, where the mother gets extra welfare payments if her children go to school. This costs about $6,000 per additional child per year, mainly because most of the mothers who benefit from it would have sent their children to school even if there were no such incentive. This is a difference of more than 1,800 times."

In the process of writing Crisis of Abundance, my book on U.S. health care policy, I came across study after study that indicated that intensive utilization of medical services has little effect on aggregate outcomes. For example, Dartmouth Professor John Wennberg and colleagues have found very different levels of utilization by Medicare patients in different regions, but with similar health outcomes.

What these studies suggest is that we are sending patients to specialists, to hospitals, and for expensive diagnostic tests without knowing when this is cost-effective and when it is not. In a nation where health care spending as a share of income has roughly doubled over the past thirty years, and where consumers are more than 85 percent insulated from the cost of health care (because 85 percent of personal health care spending is paid by either private insurance or government), ignorance about cost-effectiveness is a major economic concern.

Ignorance in Education

We seem to be most determined to remain ignorant in the field of education. The testing in No Child Left Behind is based on observational studies, rather than experiments. That is, we look at school quality solely in terms of outcomes. We label a school as good or bad without having any idea whether the school actually adds value.

Imagine what might happen if one were to run a controlled experiment, pooling a group of students and randomly assigning them to different schools. Would the "good" suburban school really do better than the "failing" urban school, once the population of students is similar?

I suspect that controlled experiments in education would show shockingly little value added. That is, if you were to randomly assign students to schools, the children of good parents would do well regardless of where you send them, and conversely.

I suspect that controlled experiments in higher education would also show little value added. Everyone can cite the differences in earnings between college graduates and non-graduates, but those differences do not come from controlled experiments. What if you were to undertake a randomized trial, in which a cross section of high-school graduates is sent to college and then compared with a similar cross-section that is not sent to college? My guess is that the earnings differences will not be so large.

I think that many people would prefer not to have the answers to these sorts of questions. For the most part, consumers and taxpayers would rather not know whether education, health care, and foreign aid are cost-effective. Instead, people would rather "trust the experts" and attribute high skill levels to educators, doctors, and aid agencies. And, of course, the experts would like us to continue to pay their salaries without questioning their results. As on many other issues, in seeking cost-benefit analysis economists are fighting an uphill battle.

Arnold Kling is a TCS Daily contributing editor and author of Learning Economics.



decisions: many want to "feel good" at another's expense
health care: viewed as a right by illegals and other indigents with the costs paid by the hospitals or greedy drug companies or government.

education: also viewed as a right with government (property owners mostly) covering the tab while the product's relative quality (US student test scores vs world student test scores) decreases with time.

foreign aid: viewed as a way to "do something" without being specific. "Aid to earth quake victims" sounds good but ultimately means nothing.

In all cases IMHO, the costs (money or the time expended to make an informed decision) are shifted from the recipients of the "feel good effect" to aothers.

Gratification at another's expense.


Ignorance and fiction
Some things are hard to know. Educators don't do randomized trials to find out which method of teaching reading works best. Observational studies are less reliable (as Kling points out). Therefore, we should ignore results of observational studies and substitute our own beliefs regardless of the data.

This is called "replacing ignorance with fiction" (a common phrase in turbulence modeling, a very difficult but apolitical problem).

ignorance and fiction in education
"Educators don't do randomized trials to find out which method of teaching reading works best."

Exactly. When they decided to get rid of phonics, this was not based on studies. They were replacing ignorance with fiction.

Education reform tend to be fad-driven, based on fiction.

What is it with liberals and strawmen?
The article talks about the problems with observational studies, and LG goes off the deep end.

Of course that's where LG lives, somewhere a couple of miles beyond the deep end.

How can that possibly be?
LG has told us time and time again, that the people who go to Harvard are by far the smartest people in the world, so they can't be wrong.

The Mother of all "Preference for Ignorance" Examples
General welfare!
The longest US war in history - the "War on Poverty".
Duration - 42 years.
Physical effectiveness = ?
Cost effectiveness = ?
Exit strategy - none
Number of politicians questioning effectiveness - approaches zero asymptotically
Number of "civilian" victims = ? (victim definition fuzzy)

Names for the war on poverty
Quagmire, ineffective, inefficient, unwinnable, expensive, illegitimate, immoral, unilateral, arrogant, etc.

No more war!

Education Research
This is in general a pretty good article, though I am not sure about the truth of (or the relevance of) the statement that "we prefer to be ignorant about what succeeds and what fails" in the fields of health care, education and foreign aid.

To be sure, I have spent my fair share of time criticizing politicians and others who recommend measures based on their intuitions about how people learn rather than on empirical data and reasoning. But the problem isn't that people prefer to remain ignorant, it is, rather, that they are not good at obtaining and evaluating empirical data.

To take education, for example, it is clear that a great deal of empirical research has been conducted, both observational studies and experimentation. Beyond government testing programs, agencies such as OECD have run large studies (known as PISA) to measure the impact of various factors, such as socio-economic status, computers in the home, and the use of books, on learning.

Various other measurement initiatives exist, for example, the Campbell Collaboration, which is an effort to standardize experimental methodology in education in order to enable the replication of research results (one problem is that different studies measure different variables, or define the same variables differently).

In conjunction with other disciplines (such as psychology and neuroscience) quite a bit has been learned about the nature of learning in recent years, which is why schools have started nutrition programs, why memorization has been replaced with methodology, and which constructivist teaching methodologies are supplanting existing behaviourist approaches.

So while the efficacy of research, as described in this article, is well known, the other suggestion, that people don't care, does not appear to be true.

It's hard to know where the author is intending to go with this article, or whom, even, he is addressing. But I suspect that were the conversation to continue we would end up in a conversation about the nature of the complex phenomena being studied.

This is because the sorts of studies described by the author are suitable for measuring stable systems with known independent variables. They are good at discovering natural laws of physics, for example, because the laws of nature remain unchanged over time and the states being measured, such as temperatures, do not vary randomly according to uncontrollable factors.

Education is not like that. Neither, for that matter, are some aspects of medicine and foreign aid. We cannot count on a consistency of environment, not even when we conduct experimental studies, much less observational studies. This is because the environment is densely connected to a variety of other phenomena that cannot be taken into account in the experimental setting.

Take, for example, the study that concludes, according to Kling, "What these studies suggest is that we are sending patients to specialists, to hospitals, and for expensive diagnostic tests without knowing when this is cost-effective and when it is not." The presumption of such a study is that the object of the health care system is to heal the sick. In a private system, however, it is also to make money. Therefore, it is equally likely that what the study shows is that we (doctors?) don't care whether the study is cost-effective, since the purpose is to generate customers for diagnostic services.

The issue here not whether doctors are really so cold-hearted or not. Other things being equal, some would probably care more about money, while others would care about health. But this is not something that can be abstracted and controlled in an experimental setting, since the doctors' attitudes may be different from what the doctors report, and these attitudes may vary according to a wide variety of external factors (time allocated, disposition of supervisors, hour of the day) well beyond the experimental range.

Because of this, when these experiments are conducted in a health (or educational, or foreign aid) setting, what happens of necessity is that the experiment is deliberately isolated and abstracted from the environment as a whole.

For example, to test whether flip-charts improve education, all other factors need to remain the same, and since these factors never remain the same on their own, the experiment must be *designed* in order to hold those factors constant. In other cases (such as the PISA studies) the impact of (those measurable) other factors must be eliminated mathematically in an analysis of the experimental data.

What this produces, however, is a result that applies only in the experimental setting. The inference from the experimental setting to the wider practise is not warranted. Moreover, because there is a priori no standard for the development of experimental settings (as contrasted, say, with the standards for obtaining random samples in polls) the experimental setting can, and often does, presume the conclusion the author is attempting to establish.

In the case of flip charts, for example, the educational setting consists (presumably) of a teacher presenting educational information to a group of children. The students can be sufficiently randomized. However, the experimental design entails a methodology in which education is attempted via the transfer of information from a teacher to a student, in which case a flip-chart would be useful, as compared to a program of self-study by a student, in which case a flip-chart would be useless.

More cynical examples can be found in the field of medicine. A controlled study looking at the best way to treat war wounds, for example, will by its design exclude the most effective way to eliminate these wounds: don't have wars.

That education is a complex phenomenon, and therefore resistant to static-variable experimental studies, does not mean that it is beyond the realm of scientific study. It does mean, however, that the desire for simple empirically supported conclusions (such as, say, "experiments show phonics is more effective") is misplaced. No such conclusions are forthcoming, or more accurately, any such conclusion is the result of experimental design, and not descriptive of the state of nature.

Some items that have popped up recently and which are relevant to this issue:

Creating A Motivational Classroom:

The Art of Complex Problem Solving:

The Megacommunity Manifesto:

A Tectonic Shift in Global Higher Education:

In short,...

I agree
I agree with this up to a point. There was in fact strong statistical evidence from the beginning that phonics is more effective than whole language reading instruction. If you refuse to look at any data that doesn't come from randomized trials, you lose a powerful argument against whole language.

Kling argues that one should ignore any data that doesn't come from randomized trials and rely instead on ones prior beliefs. The problem with that in teaching reading when you meet someone whose prior belief is in the whole language approach.

Safe environment
I assume the greatest difference between schools is that some are safe places to learn and some are not.

We know shockingly little about...
... the effectiveness of expensive programs, says Arnold, and I agree. The administration's failure to test the effectiveness of ANY of its faith based programs-- initiated to replace pre-existing forms of welfare-- is the consummate example.

Faith based abstinence programs, replacing comprehensive sex ed...

Faith based drug treatment programs...

Faith based programs generally...

The official White House position appears to be that testing the efficacy of all such programs must not be based on science but be... faith based.

Poor or nonexistent program oversight
It's not so much that health care is "viewed as a right by illegals and other indigents". It's that under our current system injured poor people get taken to hospitals whose policy is not to turn away people in need of treatment. So their lives get saved despite their inability to pay.

Who pays the bill? Not Uncle Sam, meaning you and me. And not people with health insurance either. The cost of caring for those too poor to afford health care is borne by the self insured, who pay their own hospital bills, and pay at by far the highest rate. You can look this fact up on your search engine.

The federal government pays out a pittance on disaster aid to foreign countries. (A significant percentage of "foreign aid" is in fact military aid earmarked to be spent on the procurement of American-made weapons.) What it does pay out is administered no better than was the Katrina relief money, almost all of which was squandered on ignorantly conceived, ignorantly administered programs.

The core problem here is the current administration's failure to institute effective accountability measures. The worse you screw up, the more you get promoted. No one wants to gauge actual performance, because they know what they'll find.

So we live in the worst of all worlds, where we pay more and get less even than under an average, fair to middling incompetent government. Under James Lee Witt, for instance, FEMA had actually gotten fairly good at their work-- although they still had a long way to go to be truly effective and efficient. He was forced out to make room for the failed horse trainer and college chum of powerful bag man Joseph Allbaugh.

YOU know shockingly little about ANYTHING
Not that Roy would ever defer leaping into the periphery of an argument to scold us with retreade, hackneyed cliches...

Welfare has been a such demonstrated disaster in the total care and control of government, so the great leap of faith comes from people like you who insist we keep doing the same thing. Hmmm, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

There is plenty of evidence, but once again, not that you'd care to look beyond places that have an axe to grind, that "faith based" organizations are far more effective at relieving poverty and not just throwing cash at people. In fact, the evidence is clear, government perpetuates poverty and wastes most of resources it uses in futile attempts to ensure "efficiency". Of course efficiency requires making neat little categories, that blur each persons problem. But hey as long as that 40 year old alcoholic has enough money for some squalid flat, a vittles to keep him going, Roy's ok sending him a check and not demanding he sober up.. then when the guy gets cirrohsis, Roy can complain about the need for "afforbable" and "universal" healthcare.

Unlike you, I actually professionally evaluated the results of welfare programs. My professional conclusion is that you guys aren't just misguided asses using people's misery on your latest social adventure, you like to create pathologies so you can complain about something.

If you know so much, get off your ass and the internet and pitch in.

(That means doing real work, not agitating to get somebody else to do your bidding)

Anecdotal evidence
I have heard many stories of people who want to get out of the welfare system and the system is NOT designed to get people off of the system.

Try sending extra money BACK to the government if you are a government agency.

There is no incentive and no method. Only the incentive to spend all you get and ask for more.

I agree, mostly
Completely refusing to look at data from non-randomized trials is a bit strong- observational studies do establish correlation, and there is a value in such findings, so long as you recognize it as merely correlation.

Randomized experiments require a lot more resources to run than an observational study, so it would make sense to 1) use observational studies to establish a correlation, 2) form hypotheses to explain the correlation, and then 3) test them rigorously. Testing absolutely every possible link with a randomized trial is not feasible, so using observational studies to establish what is worth studying further is a perfectly legitimate. The problems arise when you do steps 1) and 2), and then skip 3). Ultimately, I think this is what Kling is really objecting to.

say what?
"Kling argues that one should ignore any data that doesn't come from randomized trials and rely instead on ones prior beliefs."

Where does the articles say that? Talk about fiction...

Finger Pointing - Start at the beginning
"The administration's failure to test the effectiveness of ANY of its faith based programs-- initiated to replace pre-existing forms of welfare-- is the consummate example."

Previous administrations' failures to test the effectiveness of ANY of the existing forms of welfare is the starting point.

Family-based and faith-based programs pre-existed federal welfare programs. They are not a new fad, but rather a return (at least in part) to the days before the federal "nanny state" took over. Since the problems the faith-based programs dealt with have not been solved by the federal programs, it is reasonable to conclude that the federal programs have not been a "howling success".

The current Administration has not attempted to REPLACE federal programs, but rather to reintroduce faith-based organizations as direct participants with access to federal funding.

"plenty of evidence?"
>There is plenty of evidence, but once again, not that you'd care to look beyond places that have an axe to grind, that "faith based" organizations are far more effective at relieving poverty and not just throwing cash at people.

sources, please.

Ever hear of talk radio?

People call in and tell their welfare horror stories. Those who try to work and get off welfare and those to milk the system and the government promoting welfare.

Of course, they must be lying because it is conservative talk radio.

Faith Based more effective than gov't
"Government dollars come with strings attached and raise serious questions about the separation of church and state. Charities that accept government funds could find themselves overwhelmed with paperwork and subject to a host of federal regulations. The potential for government meddling is tremendous, and, even if regulatory authority is not abused, regulation will require a redirection of scarce resources from charitable activities to administrative functions. Officials of faith-based charities may end up spending more time reading the Federal Register than the Bible.

As they became increasingly dependent on government money, faith-based charities could find their missions shifting, their religious character lost, the very things that made them so successful destroyed. In the end, Bush's proposal may transform private charities from institutions that change people's lives to mere providers of services, little more than a government program in a clerical collar.

Most important, the whole idea of charity could become subtly corrupted; the difference between the welfare state and true charity could be blurred."

Government funding would contaminate and reduce the effectiveness of the charity work being done by private organizations.


Measuring success
1. It does happen to be the case that I know, not everything, but something about everything. And what I don't know, I look up. Please feel free to go behind me and correct any misstatements I may make. But don't just give me your two cents.

2. There was plenty wrong with the old welfare system we used to but no longer have. It was expensive and it paid people's bills, but it offered no incentive to get off welfare. So it ended. In 1994. Get over it.

3. You say "There is plenty of evidence, but once again, not that you'd care to look beyond places that have an axe to grind, that "faith based" organizations are far more effective at relieving poverty and not just throwing cash at people."

Provide evidence to support that statement. The hallmark of our current faith-based system is that there are no metrics. No one has the slightest idea whether it is working or not working, because they're not looking at the results. We're just supposed to take it on faith that it's a better system.

I've provided my refs to support my contention. And you've made your contention. Now you supply your refs. Give us studies measuring the efficacy of faith based systems. They should be easy to find if what you say is true.

The stories you've heard
"I have heard many stories of people who want to get out of the welfare system and the system is NOT designed to get people off of the system."

Marjon, you're talking about a world gone by. I know you're unaware of this, but that system actually ended ("welfare as we know it") back in 1994. In every state in the union, welfare payments are now limited in duration. All programs are focused on getting the person back to work and off the dole.

It's amazing, but true. Welfare actually ended while you weren't looking.

You can, and should, look this up. That way, when you read it for yourself, you won't just have to rail at me for supporting welfare queens, or some damn thing.

This explains everything
Now I finally realize how you got to be the way you are. You get all your information from that impeccable source, Talk Radio.

What a jungle of misunderstood claptrap your world must be built from. How about chucking your radio into the trash and going down to the public library? You might pick up some worthwhile knowledge.

You've picked some good issues. Let's begin with this one:

"Previous administrations' failures to test the effectiveness of ANY of the existing forms of welfare is the starting point."

Federal, state and private studies abounded of the old welfare system. There are stacks of such material so deep that no one person could read them all. They more or less all pointed to the same conclusion: old War on Poverty style welfare was inefficient, didn't give good bang for the buck and provided no incentive for the recipient to get off welfare.

That's why that world ended. Back in 1994. It's over. Look it up.

2. "Family-based and faith-based programs pre-existed federal welfare programs. They are not a new fad, but rather a return (at least in part) to the days before the federal "nanny state" took over."

Churches and charities have always been with us, and on the whole they do valuable work. But they have NEVER until this administration been supported by public money. There are very good reasons why this is so, and you should confer with our Founding Fathers to understand those reasons.

Thus there is no "reintroduction" to be done. The churches are all still there. They should not be subject to government participation, interference, funding or any other point of contact. They are two separate worlds, with a breached firewall between them.

As for your claim that "[t]he current Administration has not attempted to REPLACE federal programs", that is demonstrably false. The White House contrives with a Republican Congress to unfund existing support programs, and at the same time initiates faith based programs. THAT meets my definition of "replace".

To reprise, we agree that the old welfare system was not a howling success, as illustrated in copious academic studies both public and private.

We should also agree that there is no way to measure the success of the faith based programs that are replacing it, because no one is watching and taking notes.

And we must agree on this historical reality: welfare as we once knew it is now dead. It was transofrmed into something entirely new and limited in duration, back in 1994. Comments regarding public programs should acknowledge this reality.

Please jump in and correct me if you feel any of the above is wrong.

No more food stamps?
SSI, food stamps, WIC, welfare ATM cards are all gone?

I missed that one.

"All programs are focused on getting the person back to work and off the dole."
Like the article suggests, where is the evidence of its effectiveness?

People just lie?
People motivated to call and wait on hold are just lying when they talk of their experience with welfare?

Alternate sources
You might learn something if you would listen to talk radio.

If you are in the library, I suggest Socialism, by Ludwig von Mises, HX276.V562 1979, and Creating the Commonwealth, I returned it to the library so will just have to look that one up.
The Sovereign Individual is good too, HC59.15 D385 1997.

how typically roy
Talk radio is all lies.

Nice to live in such a sheltered world, where you get to actually believe that anything that challenges your world view, is nothing but lies, and can therefore be ignored, if not out right ridiculed.

Who wants to be that roy belives PBS and BBC are 100% accurate.

of course they do
In fact, they were probably never on welfare, their just right wing extremists making things up in order to discredit the wonderfull and perfect welfare system.

oh boy, never has such an ego been backed up by so little capability
1) You know something about everything?
I haven't seen any evidence that you know anything about anything.

2) So you are claiming that the Republican measure to improve welfare has made it perfect, and that no further improvements can be made?
Man, are you delusional.

3) So any site that presents info you don't like, is just grinding axes, so must be ignored.

Faith based systems worked, and worked better than the current system, prior to the current system being implemented. That's a fact.

Measurement for Rational Decision Making Strategies
Excellent article and refutes the null of no difference between methods.

The author needs to address and specify the methodological distinction between "cost-effectiveness" and "cost benefit". The latter involves many more and potentially tenuous economic and behavioral assumptions than the former.

A cost-effectiveness study I conducted in Kenya between mobile and fixed basic health clinic models, showed a significant cost difference in favor of fixed clinics. However, the management decision (based on these findings) was to continue to sponsor mobile clinics in distant localities since their goal was (near) 100% coverage. Later decisions resulted in the development of fixed sites as mobile demand increased beyond capacity.

Consequently management was provided with relevant data on how to structure their long-term strategy with full knowledge of the differences in costs.

The "conflict" between cost and coverage was resolved by focusing on a long term time horizon rather than on an immediate reactive response to high costs.

Ended as we know it, but still unending
Yes, they renamed Aid to Dependent Families as TANF "Temporary Assistance to Needy Families", but in my state, the welfare department (who is reportedly being told to refer to recipients as "clients") can put people under under eligibility criteria, preserving such things as food stamps, housing and eligibility for MA.

Its funny, because our state adopted private sector systems to reduce the state employee roles, but there's a health demand for CAO's (County assistance officers)

Start with
"The Tragedy of American Compassion"

You can't be that much of a dolt you couldn't go to Amazon and find that book?

Plenty more-find it yourself, this isn't an intellectual welfare program. You want pablum, enroll in preschool.

The consummate reliable source
Talk radio is the place any jerk can spout off about what he thinks he heard some other jerk say. It's obviously your kind of medium.

If you had to compare an analysis by someone who had spent a career studying some issue in depth, but that came to conclusions you didn't like, you would prefer the "truth" you heard some moron on the radio, calling in from a corner bar, say he heard Rush talking about. I can tell that from the factoids you come up with.

Go back to the radio. Talk back to it, if you like.

Careful, bub. Words are a two edged sword
"Faith based systems worked, and worked better than the current system, prior to the current system being implemented. That's a fact."

Wow. George Bush at his foggiest never gave voice to an idea quite this murky.

As faith based systems ARE the current systems, please parse your own sentence for me and tell me what it means. It sounds like you're saying faith based systems worked better than faith based systems before the faith based system was implemented.

Is that your fact?

poor little roy
Roy hears stuff he doesn't want to hear, so what is a good liberal to do.

He does what he always does, he just declares all sources that he disagrees with to be useless, and those who espouse it morons.

It's so easy being a liberal, you don't have to think.

roy's weird view of reality rears it's head again
faith based systems are one of the methods by which welfare is distributed.

It is far from the only one.

roy, you would look a little less like a paranoid lunatic, if you managed to accurately portray reality once in awhile.

Great article: I have read that people with less schooling but higher IQ’s do better than people wit
Great article
I have read that people with less schooling but higher IQ’s do better than people with more schooling and lower IQ’s. Then there is that jelly bean test and natural work habits.

Society chooses to ignorant because they do not like the some of the outcomes. We like to think of everyone as equal that way can think that we are equal we just did not get the right breaks or have the right parents or did not get the right motivation.

We need to accept that we are equal in worth as humans not equal in abilities. I believe the God loves the people how work at McDonalds just as much as he love the rocket scientist who works for NASA. But most McDonalds workers probably could excel at rocket science if they were raised by the greatest teaches in the world. Just as most rocket scientist could never play basketball like Michael Jordan even if they were raised for this purpose by John Wooden with his complete attention.

Tip: Try removing quotes from your search to get more results.

Your search - "replacing ignorance with fiction" - did not match any documents.

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
Try more general keywords.


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observational studies do establish correlation, and there is a value in such findings, so long as you recognize it as merely correlation"

would define correlation please?

Humans do have the capacity observe change.
Humans have the capacity to observe concurrent changes.

What has this to do with elucidating cause and effect?

holy smoke
you have no clue.

I would love to read your opinion of metaphysics

There is a more fundamental problem in schooling...
...That is what to teach. Much of secondary education is targeted preparing the student for further schooling. Many students are never taught much, beyond reading and basic arithmetic that will be useful in their lives. The testing function of schooling squeezes out education. My grand parents went to 1 year of school each and successfully ran a barber shop. How do we know that keeping everybody in school to 16 years old is more good than harmful? Apprentice may be better for those less academically inclined. And when do we teach lower performing students about the very simple basics of finance, statistics, probability and other important subjects.

So Arnold’s argument is relevant.

Roy your comment makes it sound like everything the Gov. was...
...perfect until GW Bush was elected.

That makes your post humerous!

Your such a kidder.

"The testing function of schooling squeezes out education"
The problem is much simpler than that.
Cause and effect controls all of what happens in space time.

Anything that disregards cause and effect is fantasy, art, creative make work programs.

Lots of data available
You haven't seen its effectiveness because you haven't looked. Of course statisticians have been all over the results of the 1996 changes.

In the first 18 months of the program, 2.4 million people nationally went from welfare to work.

If you're interested in evaluating the results of the welfare-to-work program (and of course you won't be) you can find a lot of useful information on this site:

Call-in radio
Call-in radio programs vary widely in the quality of the audience they court.

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