Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do Education Reformers Want Students To Fail?

This Economist article discusses factories of the future.  The key paragraph,
Like all revolutions, this one will be disruptive. Digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted. Some carmakers already produce twice as many vehicles per employee as they did only a decade or so ago. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets. [empahsis mine]
Meanwhile, NCLB, Common Core, back to basics, and the test until they drop mindset are all predicated on standardized tests which do nothing to help students develop the skills to become designers, IT specialists, logistic experts, or marketers.

Further the testing regime does nothing to help students create the inner life that allows them to deal with the ultimate questions.  Stanley Fish quotes Andrew Delbanco who writes,
“[T]he questions we face under the shadow of death are not new, and … no new technology will help us answer them.”
Creating a population unprepared for work and unprepared for to deal with angst that comes with being human is a recipe for disaster, but ed reformers like lemmings seem to be unwilling or unable to avoid going over the cliff.

1 comment:

D.E. Bishop said...

I read the full Economist article too.

It seems to me that we need creative, critical thinking more than ever. And that is exactly what is being neglected.

Those STEM-educated folks need to know how to apply their education in new, interesting, never-before-done ways.