A BRIEF HISTORY OF STANDARDS: EdSurge friend, Mrs. Cathy Davidson, makes an all-out intellectual assault on standards as we know them in this blog post from DMLCentral. Starting with the age-old philosophical thought experiment, "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make sound?" Mrs. Davidson explores the origins of standardized education, and poses a new question: "If there is no fixed standard of educational success, do learning disabilities exist?"
The informative piece -- if you're rusty on the theories of Frederick Winslow Taylor and Sir Francis Galton, she provides an excellent summary -- reconfirms the oft-stated view that our education system is based on an industrialized view of the world. But Mrs. Davidson takes the argument a step further by questioning the motivations of industrial heroes including Taylor, Galton, and Henry Ford. Her conclusion? Our current system and the standards it rests upon is "an industrial age invention," not an ever-present idea based upon "age-old traditions of learning." And like all inventions, it can be improved (or made obsolete) as new societal challenges and opportunities arise.