Standardized Testing? One Size Fits All?


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Human mind is by far the most complicated existence in known universe. It has an incredible learning capacity. Every human baby is born innocent with some genetic traits. After birth, the babies start assimilating from their environment, through a learning process which is very much automatic. The learning process is very raw, goes wild and is based on survive, thrive and be happy instincts. The environment and people around the babies, instill biases in their minds. Most of these environmental biases are very much restrictive, and have limited scope, based on the limitations of surrounding environment, and the limited learning and experience of people around babies. Beliefs, fears, depression, lake of initiative, laziness and hesitation are acquired through surrounding environment and people. On the other hand the natural instinct is to go and get it, you can do it, you must do it for your survival, happiness and satisfaction, and this is what you must do to avoid pain and sadness.

Most of the teaching process, right from birth that we impose on our babies, is basically restrictive and directional, as opposed to their unlimited and wild natural instincts. So we are the ones who put limits on who they want to be and can be. This process is called socialization. I am not saying that socialization is completely wrong, but, it is very hard to draw a line between what could be good restrictions on baby’s growth, and what could not be. In addition to this, most people have no clue about their seriously retarding effect on babies. A majority of people actually believe that extremely restrictive and protective teaching environment is good for babies.

The education based bias that we impose on babies, at home, and in educational institutions, for the most part, does not have much to do with actual growth and learning of babies.
We just want them to confirm to our beliefs, ideology, religion, way of living, culture and social requirements, while educational institutions just want them to confirm to the state ideology, and grow highly productive and tax paying citizens. If you look at the historical evolution of education systems, you would see that they were started by religions to guarantee an ongoing following and “good, God fearing individuals”. Later the confirmation to state, government and submission to king’s ideology were added, gradually. The proof of this is that the most people who grew up and got education in a communist country, believe that Capitalism is a menace and communism is the way to go, and vice versa in Capitalist countries. Same would be true for the kids getting education in a church, madrasah, temple or other settings. Most of them strongly believe that their religion is the way to go, and everyone else is going to hell.

The biases that we instill in our kids, at home and at school, are the primary cause of extensive division, hate and wars, we see around the world. Without the biases we, instill into their minds, they would not love or hate each other, on the bases of my God and your God, my country or your country and my ideology or your ideology.

This does not mean that one option is not better than the other. Two different options, in most cases, are almost never the same in terms of their utility and end results. But, in most cases, there is no definitive way of proving that one is better than the other. In addition to this, the other fallacy is that we hardly ever teach our kids in terms of ‘relatively better’. We almost always teach them in absolute terms like ‘us or others’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘good or bad’, ‘acceptable or unacceptable’, appreciable or disliked’, ‘loved or hated’.

Very early in life, the strongest instinct, kids show is curiosity. What, when, where, why and how are the most common words in their minds. This means that human mind is born to discover, to find, to investigate, to search and research, and to question. First quality that we, the parents and school, usually kill, in our kids, is the power of questioning everything. Enforcements like there is one God. No questions asked. You must be loyal and patriotic to your country. You believe in this ideology. You must never question or doubt this particular belief, tradition or cultural trait.

Worse is that the education systems which were originally designed to produce ‘good kids, citizens and followers’, have gradually become the major source of monetary welfare and career success. People in power realized that the masses cannot be forced to go the ideologue factories, commonly called educational institutions, unless there is a monetary incentive to go to, and monetary risk to not go to. So, the certificates and degrees became a major requirement for getting good paying jobs. For governments, certificates, degrees and licenses, provide the advantage of easier, more powerful and more controlled regulation. For businesses it was the ease of knowing that the person they were hiring, possessed a minimum set of skills and knowledge.
As a matter of fact, what degrees and certificates show is that candidate is most likely to not know anything outside, what was taught in educational institutions? Most of the outstanding and world changing discoveries, inventions and ventures are not done by the people with certificates, degrees and licenses. These are done by highly imaginative, creative, risk taking and intelligent human beings, who did not let environmental and educational restrictions, limit their imaginations, ideas and ventures.
You cannot teach something that does not exist, yet. Therefore, creative stuff, inventions and strategies are the sole products of raw human imagination and intelligence. MBAs can help you run your business in a good administrative manner. But, the revolutionary ideas can only be expected from someone who has the wild imagination. Syllabi, and educational material and techniques get outdated. But, critical thinking and the ability to solve novel problems which do not exist in articles, journals and text books, never loses its value. Education system, if we need any, and want to spend tax dollars on it, must always allow the imaginations to run wild, and let them do whatever they want to do, unless they want to harm someone.
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