Standards vs. Standardization

Recently  – okay it was about 6 months ago, but I had this thought then and still do think about standards vs. standardization.

So, back in the spring, a friend posted info on standardized tests and what they can’t tell about a student or a person. They can’t see the things that are not measurable. Creativity, musical talents, empathy. Etcetera etcetera. It made me sad. (It still does.)

Why, because I have 3 pretty smart kids and they are not good at standardization. Some students are, but should they be? Do we want robots in our future? Certainly, robots could help, but I don’t want them to be my children or my children’s children. No way.

How much wine is OK for children to drink? None. Abstinence is the answer… except that it isn’t a black and white issue. It is grey. A little taste is OK in our parental opinion. Oops, wrong answer! You get a B on your health test and you needed an A to meet our standards. How will they learn to have self-control as adults? What will happen when no one is there to oversee what they do and how they handle themselves?

Often, I have the opportunity to drive my kids to school and there are days when I just want to keep driving and take my youngest somewhere else.  Sure, she is going to the same school in the same district that the other 2 went (for now.) But somewhere, in that school environment, I hope that she finds a way to be unique – and stay that way (‘cause, she is pretty unique. She follows her own beat. Sooooooo did my other two. Then, they grew older and they were told that it was black and white. No grey. Just Yes or No and nothing in between. Their answers became the standard and sadly, their unique opinion, their creativity and innocent blank slate of thoughtful pondering about Why? and How? slowly fade away.

When writing this, I got a little introspective about this post, “Am I unique? Do I stand out? Do I have the ability to think independently of what I was taught?“ and if I don’t, am I able or willing to do something about it? Most importantly, have I done as much as I can for my children?

Since this blog gets shared with people who don’t own a business, as well as some who do, I have to ask you as parents, as employees, as educators, artists and entrepreneurs – do you lie awake at night thinking about this too? If you haven’t, maybe you will now.

Is it too late to set a new standard for tomorrow? I hope not, because I don’t know how we can keep going with the systems the way they are and what they have become. Just take a look at the average cost of college today. Can you afford the growing annual cost? Can they? Well, it has become the new standard and most can’t meet that level of investment. We are going to have to make a change.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

PS – “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.”

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