Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are National Education Standards really such a good thing?

Well, there really is quite a lot of brouhaha over the issue of national educations standards; but maybe we shouldn't be so wedded to education standards. After all most modern educationalists suggest that things shift. Grammar and spelling evolves, and all that. This does seem to be true. Invent txt and twitter (BTW, is a user of twitter a twit, or a twitterer, or both?) and a new, more efficient grammar appears quite quickly. Sure a large proportion of the population can't understand a word (or efficient concatenation thereof) the twits/twitterers/tweets/tweeterers? tap but this tends to be isolated to the portion on the population that might be described as 'older'. And, let's face it this problem gets sorted out in time.

I'm not sure that the case is much stronger in other education disciplines. The premise that 2 + 2 = 5 seems to work very well in politics, advertising, journalism, economics, accounting (the financial reporting standard ones not the good ones), sales, climate science and a number of other jobs. Fluid history is also very useful in these disciplines. Of course a number of jobs are a bit difficult without 'firmer' mathematics, science, language and history but most of these jobs aren't cool so it doesn't really matter.

New Zealand is firmly dedicated to inalienable rights (and the prevention of the alienation of inalienable rights - which seems pointless but never mind), creating an infinite set of definitions for fairness, being inconclusively inclusive, the power of moderate politics (providing that it doesn't pick winners or losers - or indeed anything in particular) and obstructive regulation (providing that it deosn't alienate things that can't be alienated). Education standards matter to these things not a jot, therefore why bother?

No, as long as milk keeps coming in cartons, China is willing to put stuff in big red sheds, and fancy electronics grow on trees (like Apples) then... she'll be right!

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