Date: Mar 1, 2013 10:43 AM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: Why schools used to be better

Joe Niederberger posted Feb 11, 2013 5:44 PM:
> Not a bad article, but some important questions lie
> just below the surface. Given the truth that many are
> eager to apply modern quantitative marketing and
> supply chain techniques in education, that rely
> heavily on standardization, one must ask "what is the
> product"? Is it the child, or the treatment?
> Cheers,
> Joe N

I personally believe that the 'quantitative techniques' (and tools/processes) are not really relevant or appropriate to apply to human beings and their problem-solving or learning processes.

1. First, human beings simply cannot be 'standardized'. Each human being is entirely different from every other human being (though he/she does share a sizable number of characteristics with others).

A human being is *fundamentally* more complex than is a toothbrush; a facial cream; a computer; an automobile; or any other conventional 'product' (which do lend themselves to standardization).

Thus the techniques used in 'quantitative marketing', 'supply chain techniques', etc, etc are very likely to leave out of consideration the most important characteristics of human beings that make them human.

2. Given the above (and full recognition of all that in in our systems that deal with human beings), I have no qualms in referring to the 'product' of an educational system, Lou Talman had rightly pointed out that to speak of a 'product' of, say, an educational system may not make much sense. However, given the conditions set out at No. 1 above, I'd believe it may be acceptable (though it is certainly an ugly usage; and we do run the risk of then treating the educational system as something like a 'supply chain' of sorts).

The attachments herewith, "What is Modeling?" and "How a Child Learns" provide some thoughts about what may be involved in realistic ways (and means) of looking at human beings.