Friday, June 13, 2008

What We Can't Measure With Tests

Diane Ravitch at Bridging Differences has a meaningful post about humane education:
The clock will not be turned back. No matter how frequently or how beautifully you describe the joys of childhood, those who are making education policy will not be deterred or persuaded. Their agenda is competitiveness. They are in the throes of data-driven decision-making, which has become a sort of mantra that takes the place of actual thinking. How can you measure the joys of childhood? How can you measure wonder and awe? Go where the numbers tell you to go, they say; but what if the numbers are measuring trivial things? Do what the numbers tell you to do, they say; but people—not numbers—devise policy alternatives.

What I am suggesting is that your longing for a more humane approach to educating children has a huge constituency among teachers, but none among policymakers. What I am suggesting is that we should talk not about a past that has been lost, perhaps irretrievably, but how to change and mitigate the policies that are now destroying joy, wonder, and any hope of a better education.

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