[ Question ]

12 years of education as a missing cause priority

by lucy.ea81 min read7th Aug 20195 comments


Cause candidatesEducation
Personal Blog

Why is 12 years of education (high school in usa) not a cause priority for EA?


New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

2 Answers

I think this article in Vox covers some of the main points.

"...improving the American education system, while important, is neither a neglected cause nor a tractable one. It is a system on which hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually by diffuse governments whose policies are difficult and expensive to change, where matters of importance are intensely contested, and where interest groups tend to fight each other to a standstill.

And it’s a system where, even after investing millions if not billions in research, we still don’t have a lot of confidence as to which interventions are helpful and which are not. The views of key actors, notably the Gates Foundation, have tended to shift rapidly on those substantive questions.

If every issue in the world were as crowded and hard to make progress on as education in the US, then I’d understand why foundations like Gates and Broad keep chugging. But that’s not the case..."

I realise this is not exactly the sort of answer you're looking for, but it's worth noting that EA priorities are meant to be in some sense the very most effective interventions in the world, so most things will not be EA priorities. As such I think it makes a lot more sense to place the burden of proof on people to prove that cause is highly effective, rather than on those who do not believe in the cause.

I'm not sure that's roughly true, EA priorities also have to be neglected, generally the most effective interventions are already taken by governments and large organisations.

5Larks2yMost effective at the current margin! We can generalise the argument to include other desiderata like neglectedness: 1) EA priorities in expectation maximise some objective function. 2) Relatively few things maximise each objective function, and there are relatively few objective functions. 3) Hence relatively few things will be EA priorities.
-2lucy.ea82yMy question is why is global education not an objective function that we are seeking to maximise? This question is slightly misstated by me, the question I intended to ask is here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/pe7QHjMpMuxT8YTir/global-basic-education-as-a-missing-cause-priority] Edit: Secondly even if no interventions can be found for say global health, it would remain as a goal, value, objective function. I find the absence of education at the top to be puzzling. Why is the objective function "Global health and development" and not "Global Education, Health and Development"? Even if one cant find interventions the goals are statements of what we find valuable.