Mailvox: Teachers are morons

HH doubts the ability of the average parent to handle the intellectual task of the average high school teacher:

I don’t think that in the vast majority of cases a homeschool parent has enough expertise in all the diverse subjects that a child (especially in HS levels and above) should know — when I look at my kids math, chemisty, physics, biology, computers, launguages etc I can’t imagine the average stay at home mom or dad being able to teach that to their homeschool kids.

That’s logical, but there’s just one problem. Teachers, on the average, are morons. (Don’t take it personally, Scott and Catkiller, you’re not to blame for your co-workers with double-digit IQs.) From my 2005 column, “Idiots at the Chalkboard“.

The immortal PJ O’Rourke once declared: “Anybody who doesn’t know what’s wrong with America’s educational system never screwed an el-ed major.” And while one has no doubt that he is correct, it turns out that there is more empirical evidence for the dismal state of teacher intelligence than Mr. O’Rourke’s sexual history or the fear and loathing with which the teachers’ unions regard competency testing.

In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics reported the average SAT score for intended education majors to be 481 math and 483 verbal. Only those interested in vocational school, home economics and public affairs scored lower.

But while the SAT is considered to be a generally reliable intelligence test, the 2001 SAT is not the same SAT that many of us took prior to attending university. Those 2001 scores on the 1996 SAT, which was replaced this year by the New SAT 2005, are equivalent to pre-1996 SAT scores of 451 math and 403 verbal. In case any education majors are reading this, 451 plus 403 equals a cumulative score of 854.

Examining an SAT-to-IQ conversion chart calculated from Mensa entrance criteria, a combined 854 indicates that the average IQ of those pursuing an education major is 91, nine points lower than the average IQ of 100. In other words, those who can’t read teach whole language.

Teaching isn’t rocket science. Anyone of normal intelligence is perfectly capable of it, especially if one is dealing with five or fewer children. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to prevent a child from learning, as that is the natural instinct of the developing mind. The wonder of the modern American public school system is that it manages to do shut down that natural process.