My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week by taking a trip to Boston. We went through all the neighborhoods, ate some awesome homemade pasta….ate some more great homemade pasta, ate some great canolis, and had a few more great canolis. I love how in a couple days you can walk through some pretty distinct neighborhoods like Little Italy, Chinatown, and Beacon Hill. One day we walked through a section of Cambridge (ok, not officially Boston) and went to the MIT Museum. There was an exhibit on artificial intelligence and the piece that a visitor first passes is below…
“What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle.Our species has evolved many effective although imperfect methods, and each of us individually develops more on our own. Eventually, very few of our actions and decisions come to depend on any single mechanism. Instead, they emerge from conflicts and negotiations among societies of processes that constantly challenge one another.”
After reading it my wife commented that it is a great quote to apply to the common core state standards.
There were some amazing things at the MIT museum. None of them created by some who spent 12 years of school being standardized.
I wonder what innovations will be placed into the museum 50 years from now. What will the students who spend 12 years being standardized in the name of common core produce? Kids who will learn the same exact thing as their peers across the country, take the same tests, use the same sources, read the same books, produce the same products in class, are taught the same way to write, who perform to the same rubric, and sit in classrooms with teachers who cannot do something that another class in the district is not doing, who are taught by teachers who are told that they must put away their “best” units and activities and only follow state and district activities that can be easily measured, and who are taught by teachers who are told that they must follow the directions given to them by someone not in their classroom who has never met their kids using standards that come with the warning, “Do not color outside of the lines.” From a ccss powerpoint:
I know the process that is underway to standardize my class is crushing my creative spirit. I have been marginalized. Teachers are made to believe that they are not proper professionals if they are not on the ccss bandwagon…and shamed. Shame kills innovation and creativity. The creativity that is necessary to create a classroom that will contribute to the world. One of the last things I read in the museum: