Monday, February 14, 2011

Until Today, I Thought Karen Was Just A Name

This is an engrossing story from Michael Yon of compassion on the ground among the Karen people of Burma (thanks to HotAir! for the tip to the link). In addition to the standard narratives we would expect from such a story (a brutal, corrupt dictatorship, persecution of an ethnic and religious minority, amazing work by NGOs in a refugee setting), the photo essay also raises important questions about the economics of education. Pay particular attention to the scenes from the school: outdoor hut, wooden benches, large class sizes, pigs roaming the classroom, a single straggly old fashioned chalkboard, and yet look at what the students are learning: literacy in their own language, a foreign language (English), sequences, and what looks like calculating the area of a two-dimensional torus. Tell me again how much a typical American community spends per-pupil on K-12 education, and what the skills are of a typical American high school graduate.

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