This is insanely brilliant. Brady explains quite clearly how people like Bill Gates have really perverted everything about education in America by turning the entire motivation schemata upside down — and he also explains how to fix it in a very humane manner. Here is an excerpt:
Read the whole thing. and don’t let the title convince you it’s just a rant, because it’s not.
A part of this essay that I would like to highlight is how Brady thinks we educators (and other citizens) should be approaching the entire question of school:
There’s a now-familiar ancient Chinese proverb which, loosely translated, says, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”
When I made that radical switch, I began a search that continues, a search for experience-creating activities
(a) so interesting, the teacher can leave the room and nobody notices,
(b) so useful, the activity’s relevance is self-evident,
(c) so complex, the smartest kid in the class is intellectually challenged,
(d) so real-world, perceptions of who’s smartest constantly shift,
(e) so theoretically sound, the systemically integrated nature of all knowledge is obvious,
(f) so wide-ranging, the activities cover the core curriculum (and much more),
(g) so varied, every critical thinking skill is exercised,
(h) so scalable, concepts developed on a micro level adequately model macro phenomena
, (j) so effective, when the activities themselves are forgotten, their benefits are fixed permanently in memory.
The raw material for creating a near-infinite number of activities that meet those nine criteria isn’t hard to find. It lies within the property boundaries of every school or randomly chosen slice of real life. Finding it is mostly a matter of looking at the too-familiar and the taken-for-granted until it becomes “strange enough” to see.
Entire URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/01/what-do-standardized-tests-actually-test/
which means this was published in the column of Valerie Strauss, at the Washington Post, who continues to be a great resource for all the rest of teachers and parents (not corporate executives). The only greater publicist for our cause that I know of is Diane Ravitch. I am glad that Valerie continues to be gainfully employed at WaPo even as her editorial writers consistently had a set of policies that were either at cross-purposes or diametrically opposed. I don’t know how she does it.
Unfortunately, Answer Sheet very seldom actually reaches the printed edition. It’s almost strictly online.
Then again, maybe that matters less, given publishing trends.
While obviously nothing is perfect I think that all of us members of the public who are concerned about schools* owe Valerie, whom’s I’ve never met in person, and the Washington Post itself, a debt for VS being able to continue being such a resource for so long!