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edu180atl: jameson brewer 4.26.12

With testing season upon us, it is difficult for me to focus my attention away from the standardized environment that we have allowed in our schools. 

So, instead of thinking about “best practices” for preparing students for tests, let’s think critically about testing in general.  As my students take one out of many end of course tests, I see the state of emergency that our schools are in.  As they are assessed on their semester of learning, I’ve learned that we as educators, parents, and students must take a stand against our present addition to testing.  Teachers organizing together can change the conversation around schooling (i.e., Wisconsin).

With little doubt, you are familiar with McDonalds and their system of efficiency, standardization, and compliance.  In fact, many have drawn a parallel to McDonalds and our lives known collectively as the “McDonaldization of Society.”  McDonalds has a strong focus on a central management center followed by local managers that follow strict protocol to ensure that a Big Mac in Atlanta tastes the same as one in Chicago.  And while this may be good practice in the hamburger industry, I’m learning that it is not a “best practice” in education if our goal is to foster truly democratic and liberating educative experiences.  This is nothing that education critics haven’t stated before.  However, for this educator, I’ve learned that until we become part of the solution we will continue to be part of the monotonous, inhumane, and undemocratic system that treats students like hamburgers.

Jameson Brewer (@tjamesonbrewer) is a teacher in Atlanta and PhD student. His research is on neoliberal involvement in education.

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