"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Data Driven Pronouncements: "They Were Wrong, it was Possible".

Data is King...or is it?

Watch the video below about a physically challenged Vietnam vet and his quest to remake his life despite doctors' findings based on his medical data.  Frame the video in terms of educational data driven sets determining a student's place in society.  Imagine a student struggling educationally in the place of the vet as you watch what he goes through to improve his situation.  The doctors told him he would never walk again without braces.  Expand the scenario.  A teacher looks at a data set and determines this student is not really doing well in class: 

  • Maybe this student has a different learning style than how the teacher must teach.  
  • Maybe this student needs more time to complete assignments.  
  • Maybe this student needs checking for understanding the facts (not the process) before he/she can master a math problem.  

Haven't we all known students (or been one of these students) who don't "fit the common mold" of educational expectations?  Why will Common Core standards help these students and do you believe amassing voluminous amount of data on children will improve their education?  When will the teachers have time to teach if they are continually sifting through data?

According to the education reformers global plan to create a managed workforce based on data, "data is king" and will predict your student's placement into society.  This vet's future was determined by his physical data.  But something interesting happens to the vet.  He decided his life was not data driven.

Listen to Arthur's statement at 3:12.

From the youtube description:

His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential. Neither Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish, but this video speaks for itself. In less than a year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of, 15 years earlier.

Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck - you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think.

Hopefully this story can inspire you to follow your dreams - whatever they may be.

One last thought: Not only do we often do not know our own potential, neither can data sets designed to track students cradle to grave predict human potential.

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