Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A call for a more scientific approach to education

Sometimes my head swims and my heart sinks when I see so many different perspectives on education. Everyone seems to have their own agenda, some promoting grit, and other opposing it, some promoting increased use of data and assessment, and others want less of it, some excited about differentiation and deleveling, and others attacking it, some excited about standards, others hating them, some voices calling for change, others asking what's wrong with the status quo. It makes you wonder sometimes if agreement is even possible, if the complexity can ever be overcome, or if real answers even exist.

But then I remember... of course there are answers. The world is complex, and humans, especially, but every time people say that humanity can't solve a problem, humanity proves them wrong. Every time people say science can't possibly figure it out, it does.

Patience. That's what's needed, and one clear goal upon which we should all be able to agree: improvement of our situation, and a meticulous, dogged, scientific, unrelenting pursuit of that goal. That's what it will take to clear away the confusion of the conflicting voices. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said:
"Any time scientists disagree, it's because we have insufficient data. Then we can agree on what kind of data to get; we get the data; and the data solves the problem. Either I'm right, or you're right, or we're both wrong. And we move on. That kind of conflict resolution does not exist in politics or religion."
Or in education... yet.

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