“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth”

The Daily Fail

February 24, 2014

Your Daily Quote: “Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.” ~ Jules Verne

Your Daily Read: How to Get a Job at Google

Your Daily Smile: How to cuddle with an elephant seal.

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Reader Graytesinia comments on Ivy League admissions on my post on kids and failure:

I do interviewing for one of the Ivies and can totally attest that what you say is absolutely correct. You do have to hit the perfect 10, so I’m not surprised that kids are are afraid of making a mistake. It’s a process, BTW, that has contributed to grade inflation on both the high school and college levels, as well as directed kids away from harder STEM classes, because they are afraid of not getting that “A”. That’s not good for the country either. The competition has become a lot more fierce as well, given that kids are now competing for admissions from kids in Asia and Europe as well. Short of putting quotas on the number of foreigners that can come into schools in the US (which has its own unintended consequences), or waiving a magic wand to create more Ivies, I’m not sure there is much we can do about it, given the shrinking economic pie and the desire for more people to find a life preserver.

But I got to say that in this quest to get the perfect 10s, by necessity the kids will be making mistakes along the way and learning from them. I’ve seen kids make up their own charities, or parents who have raised very accomplished kids but who have no social skills whatsoever, or kids who just plain lie on their application. There are two types of kids I see getting into the Ivies: truly extraordinary kids that are accomplished but also have passion and sense of self, and those that are really good at lying. I like to think there are more of the former than the latter, and that we are pretty good about sorting that out, but I admit we could be wrong as well.

I think it’s also pushed down the entire experimentation thing to an earlier age. For kids that are on an Ivy track, if they are going to experiment, the reality is middle school and elementary school are where that takes place now. By high school, to reach the level of accomplishment they need to sell themselves, they really need to have found a passion by then. That puts a lot of pressure on kids at an earlier age, hence part of the reason younger kids are so overscheduled.

Hear me talk:

WHYY Philadelphia 10 am to 11 am EST

CATO Institute at noon, with Arnold Kling, who I expect will be a tough discussant!

Wisconsin Public Radio 4:15 to 4:45 pm CST

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