Nov 29, 2022

education is engineering

My friend John Summers in the Boston Globe:

I sat in hours-long meetings squinting at bar graphs and line charts presented by a team as large as a hockey squad. Misha was never invited to attend. I served as his proxy, his voice. But behaviorism’s assumptions relegated me to a spectator. No theory of autism, philosophy of education, or conjecture of Misha’s flourishing informed his IEP. Theory and philosophy are anathema to behaviorism. Education is engineering, Skinner said. A student is a “vortex of stimuli” controlled by the environment. Only that which can be measured in metric time matters. The results of quantification are considered self-evidently true. Either Misha met his objectives or he did not.