Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Standardization (7/13)

I am on a two-week vacation, driving cross-country with my wife to spend time with family in Seattle. In my absence, I have dug into the archives and pulled up some reruns for you. Though what I most suggest is that you check out the blogroll on the right side of the page. There are some outstanding bloggers, and if there are some folks you've never sampled, there's no day like today.

One of the keystones of the ed reform movement is standardizing things. I'd rather not.


If I had to put my finger on the one most troubling aspect of the wave of reformy stuff that is currently battering us, it would be this. The standardization. The premise that education is a big machine with interchangeable cogs. The one size fits all. The sameness.

In Praise of Non-Standardization

Standardization is safe. It's predictable. We can walk into any McDonald's in the country and it will be just like any other and we will know exactly what we will get. I am not excited about that prospect. Let me plop you into the center of any mall in the country and defy you to guess where you are. That's not a good thing.

“It doesn’t matter to us whether our customers are hundreds of thousands of individual students and their parents in China, or thousands of school districts in America,” says Fallon. “What we’re trying to do is the same thing—to help improve learning outcomes.”

There's your problem. If you're trying to do "the same thing," for a student in the US and a student in China, and if "it doesn't matter" to you which is which, then something is wrong.

What We Don't Know about Normal

Some very cool research shows that what we think of as normal for all humans isn't at all.

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