Students’ Dreams Must Now Be ‘Data-driven’

That’s premier’s message as BC higher ed becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

By Crawford Kilian | Published 30 Apr 2014 by TheTyee.ca

Excerpt: 

We’re not talking about schools and universities any more; we’re talking about abstractions. It’s beyond me why a “data-driven system” should be a “major shift” from any school that keeps records. And schools have always been “outcome focused” — the whole point is to see the kids come out of school smarter and better informed than when they came in.

We’re not talking about changing; we’re re-engineering. And now we are spending taxpayers’ dollars not to meet taxpayers’ priorities, but those of the labour market. And that means jobs in demand; when demand slacks off, tough luck for anyone caught training in the wrong program.

North American education has struggled for years under an industrial metaphor: six-year-olds supposedly enter the assembly line as raw material and come out as usable young adults. But we are not cranking out Model Ts or toasters, and God help us if we turn our kids into such commodities.

However tempting it may be to worship the captains of industry, and to obey their every whim, we should remember that they live in the same moment we do, and they have no better idea than we do about what we should prepare for.

These are the same people who urged us to train more keypunch operators back in the 1980s. These are the guys like the Xerox executives who funded Xerox PARC’s invention of the modern computer, complete with mouse and graphic user interface. They were clueless about what they had, and sold it to an acid-dropping college dropout named Steve Jobs — who had really liked an artsy-fartsy course in calligraphy that helped the Mac conquer the world.

Read more: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/04/30/Student-Data-Driven-Dreams/

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