Twenty or thirty years ago, in the army, we had a lot of obscure adventures, and years later we tell them at parties, and suddenly we realize that those two very difficult years of our lives have become lumped together into a few episodes that have lodged in our memory in a standardized form, and are always told in a standardized way, in the same words. But in fact that lump of memories has nothing whatsoever to do with our experience of those two years in the army and what it has made of us.
An endless series of gambits backed by gigantic investments encouraged young people entering the online world for the first time to create standardized presences on sites like Facebook. Commercial interests promoted the widespread adoption of standardized designs like the blog, and these designs encouraged pseudonymity in at least some aspects of their designs, such as comments, instead of the proud extroversion that characterized the first wave of web culture. Instead of people being treated as the sources of their own creativity, commercial aggregation and abstraction sites presented anonymized fragments of creativity as products that might have fallen from the sky or been dug up from the ground, obscuring the true sources.
I'm not saying standardized tests are the worst ever, but there's an in-between and I don't think we're there yet. That's what I mean when I say I have an issue with it. There's no way a kid can learn in a class with 40 to 45 people. I had the power to get out of that system and pursue things that I wanted to do and I did that.
Once I tried to make a standardization of staircases. Probably that is one of the oldest of the standardizations. Of course, we design new staircase steps every day in connection with all our houses, but a standardized step depends on the height of the buildings and on all kinds of things.
Now the problem with standardized tests is that it's based on the mistake that we can simply scale up the education of children like you would scale up making carburetors. And we can't, because human beings are very different from motorcars, and they have feelings about what they do and motivations in doing it, or not.
There is no more wild, free, vigorous growth of the forest, but everything is in pots or rows like a rococo garden... The pupil is in the age of spontaneous variation which at no period of life is so great. He does not want a standardized, overpeptonized mental diet. It palls on his appetite.
G. Stanley Hall
Psychobabble is... a set of repetitive verbal formalities that kills off the very spontaneity, candor, and understanding it pretends to promote. It's an idiom that reduces psychological insight to a collection of standardized observations, that provides a frozen lexicon to deal with an infinite variety of problems.
Bureaucratic solutions to problems of practice will always fail because effective teaching is not routine, students are not passive, and questions of practice are not simple, predictable, or standardized. Consequently, instructional decisions cannot be formulated on high then packaged and handed down to teachers.
The stamping out of the artist is one of the blind goals of every civilization. When a civilization becomes so standardized that the individual can no longer make an imprint on it, then that civilization is dying. The mass mind has taken over and another set of national glories is heading for history's scrap heap.
Liberals don't care. Their approach is to rip out society's foundations without asking if they serve any purpose. Why do we have immigration laws? What's with these borders? Why do we have the institution of marriage, anyway? What do we need standardized tests for? Hey, I like Keith Richards - why not make heroin legal? Let's take a sledgehammer to all these load-bearing walls and just see what happens!
The railroads needed standardized time; as a result, the technology of train travel shaped the way everyone gets up, eats, goes to sleep, calculates age, and, perhaps of no small importance, imagine the world as a whole, ticking reliably, with reliable deviations, according to the beat of one central clock in a physical location.
The focus on just thinking about standardized test scores as being synonymous with achievement for teenagers is ridiculous, right? There are so many things that kids care about, where they excel, where they try hard, where they learn important life lessons, that are not picked up by test scores.
It is impossible to improve any process until it is standardized. If the process is shifting from here to there, then any improvement will just be one more variation that is occasionally used and mostly ignored. One must standardize, and thus stabilize the process, before continuous improvement can be made.
Standardized testing is at cross purposes with many of the most important purposes of public education. It doesn't measure big-picture learning, critical thinking, perseverance, problem solving, creativity or curiosity, yet those are the qualities great teaching brings out in a student.
The whole concept of higher education is negated unless the sole criterion used to determine if students qualify is the grades they score on standardized tests. Education is purely an issue of learning - we can no longer afford to have it polluted by damn politics. Leave pollution up to the politicians
Standardized tests are an indicator of the kind of service taxpayers are receiving - and whether schools, educators and policymakers are doing their jobs. In the United States, taxpayers spend almost $600 billion annually on public education, so it's not unreasonable to ask what all that money is producing. In fact, it's irresponsible not to know.
The 'futures' and 'careers' for which American students now prepare are for the most part intellectual and moral wastelands. This chrome-plated consumers' paradise would have us grow up to be well-behaved children. But an important minority of men and women coming to the front today have shown they will die rather than be standardized, replaceable, and irrelevant.
With demands for special education or standardized test prep being shouted in their ears, public schools can't always hear a parent when he says: 'I want my child to be able to write contracts in Spanish,' or, 'I want my child to shake hands firmly,' or, 'I want my child to study statistics and accounting, not calculus.'
The English language [during the Elizabethan era] wasn't standardized. There were no official dictionaries. There was no cultural belief that words should always be spelled the same way. So people spelled things however they heard them or however made sense. I mean the name Shakespeare had something like 16 different spellings, and the way he spelled it isn't the way we spell it.- School of Night - pg 44
With demands for special education or standardized test prep being shouted in their ears, public schools can't always hear a parent when he says: 'I want my child to be able to write contracts in Spanish,' or, 'I want my child to shake hands firmly,' or, 'I want my child to study statistics and accounting, not calculus.
Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand - a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods - or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.
The goals of development are always and everywhere stated in terms of consumer value packages standardized around the North Atlantic-and therefore always and everywhere imply more privileges for a few... Underdevelopment is the result of a state of mind common to both socialist and capitalist countries. Present development goals are neither desirable nor reasonable. Unfortunately antiimperialism is no antidote.
There is something deeply hypocritical in a society that holds an inner-city child only eight years old "accountable" for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam but does not hold the high officials of our government accountable for robbing her of what they gave their own kids six or seven years before.
The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty.
William O. Douglas
There are many well-meaning people today who work at placing an economic floor beneath all of us so that no one shall exist below a certain level or standard of living, and certainly we don't quarrel with this. But look more closely and you may find that all too often these well-meaning people are building a ceiling above which no one shall be permitted to climb and between the two are pressing us all into conformity, into a mold of standardized mediocrity.
The creativity of people on the schizophrenic end of the human continuum is a creativity that springs from the inability to accept the standardized cultural denials of the real nature of ex perience. And the price of this kind of almost "extra human" crea tivity is to live on the brink of madness, as men have long known.
We are raising today's children in sterile, risk-averse and highly structured environments. In so doing, we are failing to cultivate artists, pioneers and entrepreneurs, and instead cultivating a generation of children who can follow the rules in organized sports games, sit for hours in front of screens and mark bubbles on standardized tests.
To prepare youth for success in entrepreneurial (and free) cultures, education tends to emphasize originality, creativity, breadth, depth and leadership skills rather than rote memorization, standardized curricula or socialization. The latter skill set is vital in societies with strong upper classes employing the lower castes, but the former is essential to free democratic nations.
The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty." [Beauharnais v.Illinois, 342 U.S. 250, 287 (1952) (dissenting)]
William O. Douglas
Photojournalist? With a few exceptions, those of us working as photojournalists might now more appropriately call ourselves illustrators. For, unlike real reporters, whose job it is to document what's going down, most of us go out in the world expecting to give form to the magazine, or to newspaper editor's ideas, using what's become over the years a pretty standardized visual language. So we search for what is instantly recognizable, supportive of the text, easiest to digest, or most marketable - more mundane realities be damned.
Artists are looking for a new modernity that would be based on translation: What matters today is to translate the cultural values of cultural groups and to connect them to the world network. This "reloading process" of modernism according to the twenty-first-century issues could be called altermodernism, a movement connected to the creolisation of cultures and the fight for autonomy, but also the possibility of producing singularities in a more and more standardized world.
I am not against standardized tests. There are tests and tests and tests, and, to simplify, the ones I favor are criterion-referenced tests of skills, aligned with the curriculum. Social and emotional skills are important but skills are too. I find it heartbreaking that this is so often seen as an either-or choice. To get to the richness of studying literature, for example, you must first be an adept and confident reader. Whether you are is something a good test can measure.
I was always told that I was good in mathematics, and I guess my grades and standardized test scores supported that. My worst subjects were those that generally involved a lot of reading - English and history. So, having good test scores in math and mediocre ones in reading, I was naturally advised to major in engineering in college.
Fortunately, the time has long passed when people liked to regard the United States as some kind of melting pot, taking men and women from every part of the world and converting them into standardized, homogenized Americans. We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity -- an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.
Hubert H. Humphrey
The democratization of media means that anyone with a phone can become a celebrity. Our short-sighted focus on self-esteem in children means that everyone gets a trophy, universities and education are 'brands' instead of places of learning, standardized tests are used to assess wisdom, and grade inflation is rampant. The tribe has been replaced with followers and likes. Our economy, our bodies, our health, our children, and frankly our psyches are in big trouble.
Modern capitalism needs men who cooperate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated. It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority or principle or conscience-- yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected of them, to fit into the social machine without friction; who can be guided without force, led without leaders, prompted without aim-- except the one to make good, to be on the move, to function, to go ahead.
I imagine a school system that recognizes learning is natural, that a love of learning is normal, and that real learning is passionate learning. A school curriculum that values questions above answers...creativity above fact regurgitation...individuality above conformity.. and excellence above standardized performance..... And we must reject all notions of 'reform' that serve up more of the same: more testing, more 'standards', more uniformity, more conformity, more bureaucracy.
To ferment your own food is to lodge a small but eloquent protest - on behalf of the senses and the microbes - against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we remain passive consumers of its standardized commodities, rather than creators of idiosyncratic products expressive of ourselves and of the places where we live, because your pale ale or sourdough bread or kimchi is going to taste nothing like mine or anyone else's.
The enemy of the black is not the white. The enemy of capitalist is not communist, the enemy of homosexual is not heterosexual, the enemy of Jew is not Arab, the enemy of youth is not the old, the enemy of hip is not redneck, the enemy of Chicano is not gringo and the enemy of women is not men. We all have the same enemy. The enemy is the tyranny of the dull mind. The enemy is every expert who practices technocratic manipulation, the enemy is every proponent of standardization and the enemy is every victim who is so dull and lazy and weak as to allow himself to be manipulated and standardized.
We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.
The overemphasis on standardized tests forces teachers to teach the same restricted, unintuitive curriculum. Longtime educator Brent Evans has said that today's schools are organized as assembly lines, "(running at a set speed) and with each worker (teacher) at designated places (way levels) on the assembly line performing predetermined actions on products (students) considered to be somewhat generic (one-size-fits-all) and passive (waiting to be filled or formed to the desired shape).
A village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to conquer the earth... Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicated to the sayings of Confucius.
The medieval period based its scriptural exegesis upon the Vulgate translation of the Bible. There was no authorized version of this text, despite the clear need for a standardized text that had been carefully checked against its Hebrew and Greek originals. A number of versions of the text were in circulation, their divergences generally being overlooked. It was not until 1592 than an 'official' version of the text was produced by the church authorities, sensitive to the challenges to the authority of the Vulgate by Renaissance humanist scholars and Protestant theologians.
Alister E. McGrath
Education means teaching kids how to do stuff and how to think about stuff. Education is a pretty simple concept with a very clear way to measure results: you give some kind of an exam - maybe it's one of those standardized tests all kids hate, maybe it's some kind of essay, but whatever it is, it'll measure the results, and the kids will hate it.
The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
We want not only life but an intense awareness of being alive. The large tendency of our mechanical and standardized civilization is to blunt that awareness by surrounding us with ideas and forms that require the lowest degree of consciousness. One lives in it less by reflection than by reflex. The effect of the uniform blows with which the environment strikes us is to make us insensitive to any but the most violent stimuli; two-thirds of life ceases to exist for us because the valves of attention require cataclysmic upheavals before they will open. Lacking the capacity to be excited by any but the most gross and violent stimuli, we spend our lives in a frantic race with boredom.
But the Turing test cuts both ways. You can't tell if a machine has gotten smarter or if you've just lowered your own standards of intelligence to such a degree that the machine seems smart. If you can have a conversation with a simulated person presented by an AI program, can you tell how far you've let your sense of personhood degrade in order to make the illusion work for you? People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time. Before the crash, bankers believed in supposedly intelligent algorithms that could calculate credit risks before making bad loans. We ask teachers to teach to standardized tests so a student will look good to an algorithm. We have repeatedly demonstrated our species' bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good. Every instance of intelligence in a machine is ambiguous. The same ambiguity that motivated dubious academic AI projects in the past has been repackaged as mass culture today. Did that search engine really know what you want, or are you playing along, lowering your standards to make it seem clever? While it's to be expected that the human perspective will be changed by encounters with profound new technologies, the exercise of treating machine intelligence as real requires people to reduce their mooring to reality.
It has often been suggested to me that the Constitution of the United States is a sufficient safeguard for the freedom of its citizens. It is obvious that even the freedom it pretends to guarantee is very limited. I have not been impressed with the adequacy of the safeguard. The nations of the world, with centuries of international law behind them, have never hesitated to engage in mass destruction when solemnly pledged to keep the peace; and the legal documents in America have not prevented the United States from doing the same. Those in authority have and always will abuse their power. And the instances when they do not do so are as rare as roses growing on icebergs. Far from the Constitution playing any liberating part in the lives of the American people, it has robbed them of the capacity to rely on their own resources or do their own thinking. Americans are so easily hoodwinked by the sanctity of law and authority. In fact, the pattern of life has become standardized, routinized, and mechanized like canned food and Sunday sermons. The hundred-percenter easily swallows syndicated information and factory-made ideas and beliefs. He thrives on the wisdom given him over the radio and cheap magazines by corporations whose philanthropic aim is selling America out. He accepts the standards of conduct and art in the same breath with the advertising of chewing gum, toothpaste, and shoe polish. Even songs are turned out like buttons or automobile tires-all cast from the same mold.
Pull approaches differ significantly from push approaches in terms of how they organize and manage resources. Push approaches are typified by "programs" - tightly scripted specifications of activities designed to be invoked by known parties in pre-determined contexts. Of course, we don't mean that all push approaches are software programs - we are using this as a broader metaphor to describe one way of organizing activities and resources. Think of thick process manuals in most enterprises or standardized curricula in most primary and secondary educational institutions, not to mention the programming of network television, and you will see that institutions heavily rely on programs of many types to deliver resources in pre-determined contexts. Pull approaches, in contrast, tend to be implemented on "platforms" designed to flexibly accommodate diverse providers and consumers of resources. These platforms are much more open-ended and designed to evolve based on the learning and changing needs of the participants. Once again, we do not mean to use platforms in the literal sense of a tangible foundation, but in a broader, metaphorical sense to describe frameworks for orchestrating a set of resources that can be configured quickly and easily to serve a broad range of needs. Think of Expedia's travel service or the emergency ward of a hospital and you will see the contrast with the hard-wired push programs.
John Hagel III
Because money is convertible into all other things, it infects them with the same feature, turning them into commodities-objects that, as long as they meet certain criteria, are seen as identical. All that matters is how many or how much. Money, says Seaford, 'promotes a sense of homogeneity among things in general.' All things are equal, because they can be sold for money, which can in turn be used to buy any other thing. In the commodity world, things are equal to the money that can replace them. Their primary attribute is their 'value'-an abstraction. I feel a distancing, a letdown, in the phrase, 'You can always buy another one.' Can you see how this promotes an antimaterialism, a detachment from the physical world in which each person, place, and thing is special, unique? No wonder Greek philosophers of this era [when modern money originated] began elevating the abstract over the real, culminating in Plato's invention of a world of perfect forms more real than the world of the senses. No wonder to this day we treat the physical world so cavalierly. No wonder, after two thousand years' immersion in the mentality of money, we have become so used to the replaceability of all things that we behave as if we could, if we wrecked the planet, simply buy a new one. [... ] The development of monetary abstraction fits into a vast meta-historical context. Money could not have developed without a foundation of abstraction in the form of words and numbers. Already, number and label distance us from the real world and prime our minds to think abstractly. To use a noun already implies an identity among the many things so named; to say there are five of a thing makes each a unit. We begin to think of objects as representatives of a category, and not unique beings in themselves. So, while standard, generic categories didn't begin with money, money vastly accelerated their conceptual dominance. Moreover, the homogeneity of money accompanied the rapid development of standardized commodity goods for trade. Such standardization was crude in preindustrial times, but today manufactured objects are so nearly identical as to make the lie of money into the truth.
To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer's shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and 'blended' butter in an grocer's; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.