Imagine this is your child's classroom.
Your child sits at a desk, alone in the room. No teacher ever enters the room. An aide comes into the room periodically to give your child a quiz, or a worksheet. Your child fills out the sheet, the aide scores it. Maybe the aide gives it back to your child to do again, but the aide can't explain anything. All the worksheets and quizzes are written so that the aide, or anyone, really, can correct them. Eventually, the aide takes the paper out of the room. A few moments pass, and then the aide returns with a new standardized worksheet or quiz.
If you go to the school to see what the heck is going on, you may follow the aide to another room, maybe a huge room. In that room there are a few hundred of stacks of worksheets and quizzes. The aide brings in a completed one, and the worker in that room looks at the results and based on those, selects another paper to be carried back to the student.
"Where did all these stacks come from?" you ask.
The worker explains. "They were all written out years ago by some teacher, or at least someone expert in writing worksheets."
"Well, can I meet that person? Can I talk to the person who created all these stacks? Can I ask her how she makes sure they are right for my child?"
"Ha," laughs the worker. "She's long gone. She moved on as soon as she finished writing these out. She's never met your kid. She's never even laid eyes on your kid. Excuse me a minute." The aide comes back with a new paper. The worker scans it, looks around at a few stacks of fresh papers, grabs one, muttering, "Well, this comes as close as anything we've got."
"Hey, we don't have infinite assignments in here. And we stacked these up long before your kid even started school."
You think of your child, sitting alone in a room, completing sheet after sheet after sheet. "This is a terrible way to educate a child. This is a terrible way to run a school."
"Yeah," the worker replies. "I can't disagree. But just wait. Later we'll load all of these worksheets and quizzes onto a mainframe, and the computer will replace my aide and, well, me, too. But it'll be fast and shiny and computery and people will think it's genius." And he pointed to a stack of files in the corner. "And we'll do a much better job of keeping a file all about your kid."
"Honestly, do you think people will stand for that?"
"Sure. We'll call it personalized learning or competency based education. It'll be a huge hit. Just wait and see."