Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Rigor in PME: What I am talking about

In the course of an e-conversation with some friends the other day, I rounded up my thoughts on how to improve PME. It is a good nutshell summary, so I’ll share it here: They used to have class rankings at Leavenworth, publicly released, and it mattered who was no. 1. When Ike was first in ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia

In the course of an e-conversation with some friends the other day, I rounded up my thoughts on how to improve PME. It is a good nutshell summary, so I'll share it here:

They used to have class rankings at Leavenworth, publicly released, and it mattered who was no. 1. When Ike was first in his class, people paid attention. Now it doesn't matter, because CGSC has lost its "currency." If it mattered, people would pay attention. But you'll only get this with genuinely rigorous education:

that teaches clear thinking, that requires clear writing, and lots of it, that has class rankings, that probably gives preferential treatment to the top 10 percent and tells the bottom 10 percent that they are on thin ice, that ejects students for plagiarism, and makes it public, that perhaps fails the bottom 5 percent of the class, giving them no credit for the year of any sort.

In the course of an e-conversation with some friends the other day, I rounded up my thoughts on how to improve PME. It is a good nutshell summary, so I’ll share it here:

They used to have class rankings at Leavenworth, publicly released, and it mattered who was no. 1. When Ike was first in his class, people paid attention. Now it doesn’t matter, because CGSC has lost its “currency.” If it mattered, people would pay attention. But you’ll only get this with genuinely rigorous education:

  • that teaches clear thinking,
  • that requires clear writing, and lots of it,
  • that has class rankings,
  • that probably gives preferential treatment to the top 10 percent and tells the bottom 10 percent that they are on thin ice,
  • that ejects students for plagiarism, and makes it public,
  • that perhaps fails the bottom 5 percent of the class, giving them no credit for the year of any sort.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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