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Widgetizing people

play isthe work of childhood

A few days ago, I came across an article about kindergarten students taking standardized tests.

Kindergarten students. Five-year-olds forced to sit for as many as five hours to do a test on a computer using the rage-inducing technology of a trackpad for those whose fine motor skills are still developing. Someone apparently hates five-year-olds.

Today, I read this letter from a kindergarten teacher who is quitting because, “I was more in the role of data collector.”
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High stakes testing, particularly the latest iteration stemming from Common Core Standards, has received a great deal of attention. But I think a bigger problem is that too much of our educational system has been industrialized. Kids are treated as widgets, teachers as factory workers, and administrators as foremen. And unfortunately, the result is too often defective products.

High stakes testing is a symptom — an awful, harmful, stupid symptom, but only a symptom of an educational system that long ago rejected the notion that students (and teachers) are persons. They are not blank slates that can be shaped into “useful members of society” for governments or business to make use of as they see fit. It is the result of the abandonment of education as a path to develop the mind and character of individuals in favor of embracing schooling to shape and socialize products.

The failure of the factory is the factory itself, and no amount of testing will fix that flaw.

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