When Education becomes standardized

Published 6:42 pm Saturday, April 14, 2018

By Michael Cole

 It has been said in more ways than one that education is the future of a nation and a society. When I was campaigning, I would remark that unlike ancient societies that spent resources building Pyramids, Great Walls, Stonehenges, or other wonders, the American people made education its modern wonder.

We once decided that investing the resources of our society into our people, rich or poor, would be the testament to our greatness.

And we flourished.

We conquered a continent Atlantic to Pacific. We built technical marvels. We eradicated diseases, designed and built cities that put the other nations to shame. We put men on the surface of the moon. We fought for equality.

We were the American dream.

All because we educated everyone.

Then we rested on our laurels

Education became standardized.

We felt all our teachers should be cookie cutter teachers so we decided the quality teachers should pass “quality” tests that were written by men and women who never taught. And the classrooms suffered.

We then felt that every child would go to college, so we told the boys and girls that were good with their hands that they needed to think abstractly even though they would most likely only ever need to think concretely. So we set them up to fail.

And when they did fail, we blamed the quality of the teachers, so we now wanted standardized tests for students. At first it was to just measure where students were. Then it became to judge where schools were. Finally schools had money tied to it.

So schools stopped teaching necessary skills, and started teaching the test.

That is good if a citizen has to decide if “C” is the best answer in life, but absolutely worthless if a citizen has to decide if a new Tax is the best thing for the County.

And we see it in our society, because we stopped teaching critical thinking and instead teach a test, other nations have surpassed us in turning dreams into hi-tech infrastructure and reality.

Nations once looked at Americans in awe. It was said, if you can dream it, America can make it happen. Now, they look at us as a dumping ground for their consumer goods.

It is not too late. We can reclaim our status. But it starts with reclaiming high quality education.