[Marxism] 11. RE: A Modest Proposal (Re: America No. 1?) (To Mark Lause-Carrol-Yoshie)

hari.kumar at sympatico.ca hari.kumar at sympatico.ca
Sun Mar 6 08:05:56 MST 2005


A long beack & forth on this. 
Only picking up a coupel fo potins:

1) Carrol wrote, 
"What would happen if there in fact were no grade records? Let's take the example that is always thrown up when 'reducing standards' is at issue: Would you want a neurosurgeon to operate on you
if Med schools didn't give grades?  What would happen is that each hospital would have to take direct and continuing responsibility for the
competence of each of the surgeons who utilized its facilities. And it in turn would rigorously train and continuously monitor the performance
of the (non-degreed) surgeons operating on its premises. Medical care would almost immediately improve. If it didn't, there would be actual
lynchings of hospital administrators."

RESPONSE
Talking from much practical and bitter experience, devolving responsiblity to hospital adminstrators locally is precisely the wrong thing to do - or the best thing, if you want more of "Shoot the messenger" pheneomenons. External examinations by national body for many professions (not just medicine) - are very important ways in which local nepotisms, small-minded practices ("In my experience..." type of authoritanism); un-tested 'theories'; and palin incompetence - can be weeded out - or at least severely limited. 

The solution for incompetent physicans/health care practices do not entail anti-professional standards. 
Rather - It entails ENFORCING professional standards. Moreover it has to revolve around the active bringing in of community representatives AND the entire health care team (nurses, social workers, childrens teachers, physios, chaplains, ward aides etc etc..... The hospital ward is a very complex eco-system with numerous participants who each actually DO see a small important vignette on a daily basis). This giving voice to other ranks of workers, is in some ways, reminsicent of the Joshua Horn/Old style C.P.China model ('Away with all pests').   

(2) Yoshie has identified a problem: The un-motivated student with whom one's relationship is like leading and pulling a stubborn mule along a high pass - to one side is the Scylla of political correctness of attacks on a teacher who tries to enforce standards  - to the other side is the Charybidis of the teachers' own wish to im-part 'truth' or at least a sembalance of it. 

But the solution is hardly no assessments - at least in my view. Mandating no work outside the classroom is of course silly unless studying has a wage. 
Even in pre-Thatcherite UK, I was the first of a very large extended family to be able to get a schooling; & then a university training - only because I got a full grant from the then "Welfare State".

Perhaps I have misunderstood Yoshie, but I suspect not. 
Hari Kumar





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