December Meetup – The Present and Future of K–12 Education

The next monthly discussion meetup is Saturday, December 3 @ 2 PM (see below for location details).

For this meetup, we’ll be discussing the current state and possible futures of K-12 education. Roughly 50 million children attend school in the United States every day, and each can expect to spend roughly 20,000 hours of their formative years there. At a taxpayer sticker price of $15,000 per student per year, it should alarm us to hear that most of them spend their school days tired, stressed and bored, and for all that trouble still can’t name the three branches of government when all is said and done. Why does school (mostly) suck? How much better could it be?

The key details and suggested readings/videos are below. Please feel free to come to the meetup even if you don’t do any (or only some) of the suggested reading. These are just starting points to get the discussion going and are by no means required.

Also, please feel free to come even if you’re worried it will be awkward, you won’t fit in, or you aren’t the “typical person who comes to a Rationality meetup.” We are welcoming (albeit occasionally argumentative)!


Date: Saturday, 12/3 @ 2pm–4pm
Location: South Loop Strength & Conditioning – upstairs in the mezzanine
645 S Clark
Chicago IL 60605
Note: Todd owns this gym so that’s why there’s a Rationality meetup at a gym 🙂
If you have trouble finding us, text/call Shane at 608-436-1809.


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Eric Hanushek – What Matters For Student Achievement, 2016 (a retrospective/update on the landmark 1966 Coleman Report)

Alfie Kohn – Schooling Beyond Measure, 2012 (An argument that quantification is being overused/misused in education)

Slate Star Codex – SSC Gives a Graduation Speech, 2014 (A satirical excoriation of mandatory schooling writ large, big picture cost/benefit approach)

Vrain Waves Podcast – Knowledge Party with Natalie Wexler, 2019 (interview about the guest’s book arguing that a lack of basic knowledge teaching is to blame for education’s stagnation)

Daniel Willingham – Critical Thinking: Why Is It So Hard To Teach? 2010

Joseph Henrich: The Secret of Our Success, 2016 (A 20 minute lecture summarizing the speaker’s book and gene-culture coevolution theory of human nature)

Illinois’s 2021 Biennial Charter School Report