Tuesday, August 04, 2015

"Our children need to be treated as human beings - exquisite, complex and elegant in their diversity." - Lloyd Dennis

Systems of mass production can be really good at certain things.

If you go into a McDonalds anywhere, especially in the United States, you're pretty-much guaranteed you'll be able to order something from a menu that is pretty-much identical to the menu in every one of their restaurants, and that the food (hmmm....) that you get will be pretty-much identically prepared as it would also be in every one of their restaurants.

You want that. You want to know what you are going to get. You depend on it being exactly the same. And McDonalds wants to deliver it exactly that way. So they put in policies and procedures to guarantee that this will happen. These policies and procedures are documented and detailed, can be measured precisely, and--most important of all--can be scaled.

The quality of the output can be measured in very standard ways from the top down.

And this would be exactly the wrong way to run a school system.

Children are not identical meat patties to be prepared in identical ways. They are not sent to us as completely raw material, just to then be shaped by rule-bound, low-paid employees into identical products.

So, if children are exquisite, complex, and elegant in their diversity, and we take that as a starting point, how would we create learning environments for them? What would we consider to be success? How and where would we measure that success? And who would be doing the measuring?

Discuss. :)
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