It occurs to me that the current wave of supposedly “data-driven” educational leadership is very much reminiscent of Taylorism and the misuse and abuse of early IQ tests, both just about a century ago.
Taylor used to stand around factories, famously taking notes that he timed with his stopwatch (the only measurement tool he had, frankly) as he watched the workers. He would then write up a plan for management to speed up the workers and make more money and would charge enormous sums for it. He later admitted that he made it all up when he was writing his recommendations — but his philosophy made life unbelievably HELLish, to the great profits of the multi-millionaire corporate chieftains (the ones we are supposed to worship as philanthropists today: Mellon, Carnegie, and so on.
(I use the word “Hellish” advisedly. Read anywhere about what working conditions were inside industrial enterprises 100 years ago — it was either a boiling, or freezing, or poisonous, or extremely dangerous inferno, and if you were one of the workers, any tiny existing benefits were constantly being taken away and workers were forced to speed up — with no medical or disability insurance for those injured or killed or sickened…)
The early IQ tests were the first attempt by Galton and his followers to “prove” that White Anglo-Saxon or German Protestants were smarter than everyone else on the planet, and generally superior in every way. BTW, it took a lot of trial and error to find test items that would produce that result with any reliability: Binet and other early IQ test writers kept finding that on many questions or measurements, the kids that they “knew” were inferior, would get better results. That, of course, would not do, so those items were thrown out, systematically, until they found entire batteries of questions which would produce what they felt were the “correct” results. Those results included the suprising findings by Yerkes et al, when testing US Army draftees during 1917-1919, that recent immigrants of Jewish origin were ‘mentally inferior’ to native-born WASPs … All of which was used as fuel for the Eugenics movement and the racist anti-Chinese, anti-Black, and anti-Jewish — or should I just say, utterly racist — immigration quota laws passed by Congrress back then, just after another piece of mass insanity (Prohibition) was enacted, with similar perverse results.
And, just as the current round of educational insanity is being funded by the uber-rich, all of those racist immigration quotas, forced sterilizations which gave Adolf Hitler and his party all the justification he needed to pass his racist Aryan laws and begin a racist, murderous world war. He could say, and did say, in truth (for once, because he generally lied all the time), that he was just using the ideas of the very best and whitest and richest and most powerful people in the US, who agreed with him on the need to keep down the swarthy types and labor organizers and leftists of any persuasion.
You can read about this in many places. I’ll give you a few citations but the butter is burning on the stove.