Editorial: Death of Darwin & rise of the cookie cutters
September 28, 2012
Filed under Viewpoint
Their individuality is handcuffed. Their creativity thrown in a jail cell and the keys tossed away to sea.
Say hello to the new age of Texas education.
Say hello to the cookie cutter era.
Recently Texas curriculum has been attempting to raise its standards of education and in the process have created a new format of learning. A format that is more regulated, restricted and narrowed.
And many are left with the same question. Why? The answer is always the same and never less ambiguous: to increase student learning.
Why are there data walks?
To increase student learning.
Why write a bell-ringer?
To increase student learning.
Why should teachers write the objective on the board?
To increase student learning, of course.
The problem started with one word. A word that is the lungs and heart of America as much as it is its death: equality. People in high places got an idea that no matter a student’s background, their goals, or more importantly, their academic ability, they should perform at the same level. The concept is nice to think about; however, it isn’t reality. And speaking of reality, it actually lowers the standards of education.
Here’s an analogy. Imagine an athlete training for a competition. But there’s a problem, the athlete isn’t training to win. Instead, he is training not to lose. While the effort is there, the mentality has a negative effect. The motivation is through the fear of failure, not the desire to win.
The same goes for education. In an effort to meet the minimum requirements, officials have forgotten a student’s maximum potential. And not to mention that one student’s maximum is another’s minimum.
Anyway, the concept evolved and now it has a name: C-Scope. It’s a name packed with potency, enough potency to make students around the state of Texas cringe. But students have the least of it. Yes, their learning is reduced to a focus on CBAs, but imagine the teacher’s position.
The cookie cutter concept is a double threat. Aside from being counterproductive, it is destructive. With a watered down education, individuality is lost in the classroom, in the lectures and most importantly, in the teachers.
A teacher has spent four years earning a teaching degree and undergone hours of training. They have dedicated their lives to live on a teacher’s salary, all the while attempting to teach our generation. Now, the state of Texas has disarmed a teacher’s original lesson plan and replaced it with its own, far-from-original lesson plan. To many this is Stepford Wives meet public education. Imagine if the whole state of Texas was all learning the same time, at the same place, with the same lectures. The thought is unnerving.
The concept seems to contradict that of evolution. Darwin’s Theory states without variation, a species will die.
But according to the state, “research” shows that written objectives and the such will increase student learning. And as substantial as the research might be, it is never elaborated on remains an untrusting mystery to many.
The state has forgotten that the quirks make the teacher. That the intricacies of a classroom can’t be confined to a check-list on a clipboard. That the unexpected topics a classroom will stumble upon, be it a passionate debate on religion in school or a rehash on Sunday night football scores, make the classroom. That the little things sometimes touch students the most; not the latest objective.
Remember, Texas is crazy on the whole “bell-to-bell” schedule plan, so when your class finds itself lost in a riveting discussion on something, your teacher might lose a mark for being off topic. Snaps for Texas.