Thursday, August 7, 2014

Test-R-Us, Inc.

Testing has driven the curriculum ever since the Raygoons came to power. It has only grown in impact and influence since then.

"Accountability," it was called, back then. It was already a disputatious topic, even then (early-mid 80s, when I was in Grad School, working on a PhD in Ed). The first book on it that I read was this:
Accountability in American education: A critique (January 1, 1976), by Martin, Overholt and Urban.
Though nearly 40 years old, it could be well revived, inasmuch as it answers almost ALL of the red herrings, straw men and other fallacies which the proponents extol still today.

So-called 'accountability' was "demanded" by "reformers" who piled it atop the mythology that teachers have/had soft jobs, short hours, and "3-months-vacation a year!"

And the growing realization, even then, that there was a whole fcking PILE of money to be plundered.

Oh, and union busting.

Which is the Murkin way. And the Raygoons were on it like stink on shit: Bill Bennett, Chester "Chukker" Finn, Lamar Alexander, Chris Whittle, E.D. Hirsch, all the usual grifters, all rode that wave. Remember "A Nation At Risk?"

Testing today has become an end in itself. Tests today mainly exist to provide psychomeretricians with fresh data with which to construct newer, more revealing tests. The only interest that Bill Gates has in education at all is to corner the market in educational software and to own the licenses to all the IT curricular applications.

But the "accountabalists" STILL want teachers' performances assessed and judged by how well their students perform on essentially meaningless instruments designed mainly to elicit information to write more tests.

We're not "poor," we're temproarily embarrassed millionaires, as Steinbeck put it.

And this attitude is the product of the longest, continuous, uninterrupted stimulus-response experiment in history. We live in a gigantic Skinner-box--and the myriad others which we mistake for 'individuality'--the walls of which are comprised of the flickering blue screens with which we surround ourselves, and from which we are never far.

Divisa et impera.

The Ipod, and it's ilk, has very nearly completed the task, creating the millions and billions of "niche" markets which are the definitions of our shopping desires: The apotheosis of atomization--which is the mist, as dispersed and divided one CAN be.

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