top of page

Just which parts should be over...?

I happened upon this opinion piece by William Rankin the other day. It has honestly haunted me since. Do I think all of education is over? No way. I don't agree with it all. But I think there are parts we should allow to die for good. The OLD MODEL of education: lecture, input, output, testing NEEDS to die!

I know many educators who are frustrated to be tied down by planned test-driven instruction which removes all creativity from the classroom. Combine the limits continuously thrust upon them with trying to replicate it online right now, and no wonder everyone is so frustrated. There IS a different approach, a different way. But those who want to try it are not typically allowed. (Shout out to a former colleague who offered the kids a stimulating opportunity for lasting knowledge in social studies.)

My favorite quotes from the article:

"To be fair, I don’t think it’s an inherent fault in most educational professionals. Most teachers genuinely care about their students and want to do good things for them. Nor is it even fundamentally about most people not having some sense of what actually works in education. Ask any teacher what really sparked their own learning, and most won’t reminisce fondly about endless worksheets, rote memorization, or ‘bubbling in’ standardized tests. Most of us know what real learning looks like and what engenders it. Yet for some reason, we’ve been unable to connect that meaningfully with what happens in school."

"This gap isn’t a bug; it’s a feature of modern education. More than half a century of ‘data-driven’ instructionist foundationalism has taught teachers to ignore their more human instincts. A modernist focus on ‘objectivity’ and its associate emphasis on objects — data, technologies, things — has led to an inability to question or see beyond the existing system. No matter how many times we’ve experienced collapse, modern education has continued its dogged focus on information rather than on human development, learning, wisdom, and the growth of human well-being. We just keep beating our heads against the same bloody wall. Instructionism’s insistence that the chief benefit and aim of education is the transference of information — objectified, quantifiable, and verifiable through numeric data — is the feeble foundation that undermines everything else. Worse, it’s what keeps us from building something new and lasting. Anything built on this foundation will eventually fall…"

"No one should give a damn about what percentage of students can pass a standardized test if they can’t use their learning to make their lives and the lives of our communities better…"

"The ugly truth of modern education is that like so many late-capitalist industries, it was built on the unsustainable linearity of consumption rather than the regenerative energy of creation. Accordingly, the ‘educational industrial complex’ has always considered ‘waste’ to be a natural byproduct, as demonstrated by the fact that so many children fall through its cracks."

What else catches your attention from the article?

Recent Posts



bottom of page