Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Streaming

The natural tendency of both geography and biography is to stream things, to let nature take its course as diverse forces and pressures (forces confined, or spread out over areas) act on fluids. And so it is with human education.

The most effective thing is to let fluids find their level, and then channel them accordingly. The least effective thing is to do co-current heat transfer or to force all fluids to spread evenly in a thin and unnatural film over a thin and unnatural landscape (like some movies I've seen).

When people are streamed (at airport gates, by means testing, or in education), it is always a nett gain to society in terms of resources saved, as long as the streaming medium is relatively responsive to changes in the environment. What we shouldn't do is abandon any idea of streaming in the name of that soul-deadening anti-scientific anti-human thing called 'artificial equality'.

And that leads me to banding in school systems. If we no longer have it, is that a good thing? The point is that it is bad to avoid banding. This is because people do it anyway. It is biologically impossible for humans to avoid comparisons.

The better solution is to make ALL the data available and let humans test themselves against the data, making their own sense. Is a school that claims 'green' efficiency really so if it spends $500/head on electricity and water? Is it better to send your children to a school that is religious and cheap or secular and expensive? And what if one masquerades as the other?

What I propose is that far from scrapping banding, ranking and streaming, we should make all the data publicly available while suppressing the names of individuals. Show at least the bulk population data. For every school, release their accounts to the public for reasons of accountability. Let everyone see what schools do, so that people can make conscious pseudo-rational decisions that they can no longer blame on anyone else.

How's that for a different take? *grin*

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