Want a good example of this?
In Canada, look no further than Saskatchewan where their Minister of Education Donna Harpauer has declared martial law on teachers and assessment. She has unilaterally stepped into "save" teachers from their professional responsibility for assessing and evaluating their students. CBC news writes:
The minister of education says she is preparing a province wide grading policy that will require teachers to deduct marks if students don't do their work.
In Alberta, such a move by the Minister of Education would be considered malpractice and in violation of the Alberta Teachers'Association's Code of Professional Conduct:
2 (1) The teacher is responsible for diagnosing educational needs, prescribing and implementing instructional programs and evaluating progress of pupils.
(2) The teacher may not delegate these responsibilities to any person who is not a teacher.
I understand that elected politicians play a role in the big picture, but when they meddle with the minutia of a profession, they risk making decisions based on pseudo common sense that is built on a house of uninformed superstition.
For example, some "educational experts" (I use this term very loosely) have concerns about grading:
But one concern raised by educational experts is the practical problem that results if various school boards have different grading policies. An 'A' in one school division may not be equivalent to an 'A' in another.Really?
Are they really saying it's possible for two different teachers to give the same assignment two entirely different grades?
Are they really saying that the same teacher might grade the same paper twice in one night and give it two different grades?
Oh my God!
Stop the presses!
Okay, so what's the solution?
Well, in Saskatchewan Donna Harpauer has a full proof plan: because she found that five or six school divisions don't deduct marks for bad behaviour, her solution is to dictate from afar a new standardized policy for the entire province.
We really shouldn't be surprised when distant authorities, who spend little to no time in schools with children, try to solve messy problems like assessment with neat and tidy standardized policies. Standardization is a convenient solution for inconvenient problems, but so is closing the blinds during a tornado.
There's a reason why teachers are afforded the right and responsibility to be the primary assessors for their students.
Decisions about kids should be made by the people closest to the kids. It makes little sense to me to drive the decisions further and further away from the classroom teacher, but that is exactly what is happening in education systems all over the world, including Saskatchewan. More and more people outside of the classroom are garnishing more and more power over those inside the classroom.
On issues like this, I have a whole new appreciation for what Susan Ohanian wrote in her book One Size Fits Few:
I bleed over educational insanity wherever it occurs. I knew then as I know now that it is my moral duty to offer a counterargument to people who would try to streamline, sanitize and standardize education.