Standardized Learning

It's perhaps an obvious yet critical observation that standardized testing in schools leads to standardized learning. The importance of conversation is the question of what basics schools give students in their first dozen years of school. The answer depends on what they want to be able to do after that. Reality is that there will be no standardization in what students want to be able to do after their foundational education.

They will want to do amazing science, urban farming, tech coding, all kinds of medicine, teaching, unskilled labor, specialized manufacturing, arts and design, social and commercial entrepreneurship, stay at home parenting, home schooling and a large array of jobs that don't even exist today. There are many non-standardized things students will want to do in their multiple career adult lives.

They will do best across these contexts when they have a few basics like: reading, writing, communicating, researching, self-care, cooking and knowing how to organize their own learning. Side note: I don't include math and science explicitly as separate competencies because all math and science basics can be automatically learned in cooking which is core to health and social social well-being.

Any serious conversation about standardized learning must include attention to the fact that today's students will increasingly have all available knowledge and answers to any kinds of questions in their phones, and in the near future, embedded in their wearables.

So the question of what about learning needs to be standardized needs to also include the questions of what kinds of learning doesn't need to be and in fact cannot be standardized. It also needs to pay very careful attention to the fact that the future to which we prepare students today has little in common with the future to which we prepared students of their grandparents' era.