In education, for example, it's easy to sell the idea that standardized tests will be a good way to measure learning. Perhaps the ease in which people can relate to this model is what keeps many from seeing its harmful and negative potential to our children. Yet, when we follow the money, the priority in this approach is not whether or not it really assesses true learning, but only that it appears that way. In the end, it only serves to perpetuate the reward/punitive system that places them at the control panel and to make the money-makers, who are taking over education, richer. Kids? oh, they are not part of the equation.
On a similar note, I read on Leonie Haimson's article in the Huffington Post this week and piece titled, "Class Bias, Class Size and Online Learning". She reacts to a comment made by Chester Finn, of the conservative Fordham Institute, which proposed that placing kids on computers (which is more cost-effective) would allow for larger class sizes, and save money. Finn states that " No, technology is no panacea, and it does carry some near-term costs. In the long run, though, it will save money for districts and states while also delivering their young people a better -- and more modern, and very likely more motivating -- education".
To anyone remotely associated with a child, this solution is not in the least bit child-centered. Just like in my dilemma with the non-existent customer service at Blogger, one must be completely delusional to think that raw technology will enhance where we stand, or that more children in a class is better than less children. All over the country we have heads of school districts claiming to do what is 'best for children' and meanwhile they themselves do not even apply these philosophies to their own children. To offer a solution where larger classrooms run primarily by computers is a solution one offers when one's never been in a classroom for long. Offering a solution where larger class sizes is at the heart of the selling point is also saying that these 'solution-makers' have never seen or experienced what true learning in their classrooms looks like. Had they experienced what true learning looks like, even in a single child, they would never in million years offer a solution so devoid of life, inspiration and common sense.
So as parents and educators we need to be very, very aware of buying into oversimplified solutions and to always follow the money if ever in doubt of anyone's intentions. Anyone can claim to push policy 'for the sake of the kids', yet only solutions that are truly child-centered can really help children. Only people who know children will be the best barometer for what solutions work for children. It's unfortunate for this country, for right now we have a series of arrogant, self-centered leaders who sound good, but who who possess very little real experience with children and are with much confidence and force, pushing for policies that would do well in Wall Street, yet will ultimately hurt our children. These are children, and most importantly, these are our children and we must demand the same things they demand for their own children, who attend private schools; such as small class sizes, less testing, and a humane environment for their teachers, so that they would feel free to creatively inspire our next generation.