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Sunday, February 12, 2012

What worries me about numbers

I am writing a grant to bring professional development to urban schools and, alas, I am in need of scientifically based research to prove best practices in writing. Do not get me wrong, there are studies I can draw from and I have tapped their resources to make the case for more writing instruction in schools. The trouble that arises, however, is the fact that as much as scientists try to quantify the arts and create a numerical equation to plug in a "what works" formula, they will fail. Writing transcends predictability, routine, normalcy and hypothetical guessing.

Sadly, testing has brought us to a place in U.S. history where writing ceases to exist unless it can be scored by a number. Creativity is squashed, personality is inhibited, and voice is slurped away in a straw of logistics.

Here is why I dislike scientific reasoning. It paints only a slim stroke of truth on the canvas of knowledge, but it is funded abundantly because is gives a semblance of normalcy, predictability and control. I do not know. I prefer everything that is opposite of this and fear the petri dish our schools have become. It reminds me too much of eugenics, too much of group think, and too much like robotics. If that is where we are heading, so be it.

If so, posts like this will no longer matter. Instead, only answers to the equations above will have relevance.

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