Pt 5 Normality thru schooling; common standards as curriculum
Previous parts of the series on diversity (“the differon”) and sustainability defined normalcy as unsustainable. This explained bullying as a negative reaction to the differon. Part 5 reviews: 1) how standardization via a common curriculum and testing reinforces normalcy, and 2) what to do about it.
The purpose of traditional education is making sure students acquire the same sets of skills and areas of “factual” knowledge. It’s called the standard curriculum. This one-size-fits-all reality is supported by standardized tests. In Indiana, it’s the ISTEP exam.
Yaacov Hecht (2003) argues that the source of problems in society is the one-size-fits-all “square” (aka normalcy) we all must fit into. This is endorsed by schooling where we are told, if you want to learn, you have to come inside the square. We judge everyone by the square. We are asked, “Why are you outside of the square?” This, he said, is the danger of school.
The role of standardized tests is to keep us in the square. He predicted an era of global testing would arise to promote world standards. He sees this as no more than creating a culture of competition, power, and money–creating a “Coca Cola” culture turning individual cultures into one global culture.
Yaacov notes that in traditional approaches to standardized testing:
–learning disabilities are dismissed
–every grade level has a fixed standard of achievement
He proposed a democratic self-managed learning approach where testing is not standardized:
–unique learning abilities are recognized
–each person has unique areas of strengths and growth
Hecht, Y. (2003). www.democratic.co.il/en