[plt-scheme] Perplexed Programmers

From: Joe Wells (jbw at macs.hw.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Aug 27 19:08:10 EDT 2007

Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu> writes:

> On Aug 27, 2007, at 5:12 AM, Jos Koot wrote:
>> I don't think anyone or any particular isolated group is to blame
> As a conservative person, I strongly believe in the responsibility of
> the individual. This includes
>  -- the student, but he's the least trained so the least to blame as
>     long as he works hard
>  -- the teacher, who is a multiplier of 'thoughts' and 'training' and
>     thus has a large responsibility
>  -- the programmer, who, like a surgeon or car mechanic, is ultimately
>     responsible for the product
>  -- the manager, who has the responsibility to fit all pieces together
>     and think long-term
> So I reject the idea of blaming an anonymous 'system' instead of the
> participants. You may respond with 'how about the connectors' and I
> will tell you that each person is responsible for some amount of
> connectivity and the manager is responsible in principle.

That's like blaming an individual protein for letting the virus in the

Of course, you are correct in that solutions will have to come from
individual behavior.  Until someone invents Asimov's “psychohistory”
(probably never), there is no other option.

> On Aug 27, 2007, at 2:35 PM, Joe Wells wrote:
>> I strongly recommend John
>> Taylor Gatto's “The Underground History of American Education”
>> (available online).  This is a detailed historical analysis of the
>> system from its origins through roughly the 60s and 70s
> Thanks Joe.
> Again, as several times before, let me also recommend 'Let's Kill Dick
> and Jane.'

There's also some nice (but depressing) material on the “look-say” and
“whole-word” nonsense in Gatto's book.  The only good thing that came
out of look-say is Dr. Seuss.  (“Now it is day.  The sun is up.  Now
is the time for all dogs to get up.  Get up!  It is day.  Time to get
going.  Go, dogs. Go!”  And: “From there to here, from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.”  All written within the publisher's
mandated 223 word vocabulary.)


> It also starts with a history and, based on other readings,
> I suspect it tells a correct story.
> ;; ---
> I do agree with Todd, however, in that highly intelligent women have
> been lost to educational professions over the last 40 years due to the
> opening up of other opportunities. This is not a judgment of the fact
> as good or bad, but a realistic evaluation. The solution is not to
> complain and to bemoan their exit -- and I doubt Todd was doing this
> -- but to cope with the fact and train other people well.
> -- Matthias

Posted on the users mailing list.