It’s innovative, but is it really better?

Aug 4, 2014 by

By Arthur H. Camins

Advocates for change in education like to be called innovative. But therein lies the innovator’s moral dilemma. Are favored innovations better and for whom? For example, a new report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, called “Measuring Innovation in Education: A New Perspective, Educational Research and Innovation” indicated that the “top five innovations in organizational policy and practice” in the United States were, “more use of student assessments for monitoring school progress”; and “more use of assessments for national or district benchmarking.”  Are these innovations better? Evidence alone will not provide an answer because, through the filters of moral superiority, anything counts as evidence. So it is with the supporters of currently ascendant education policies.


(OECD, ‘Measuring Innovation in Education’)

It appears that the battles over what counts as better for education in the United States will be decided, not by the relative strength of evidentiary arguments, but instead by who most successfully claims the moral high ground. Public acceptance of policy prescriptions turns not turn on technical determinations, but on values identification and moral judgments.

It’s innovative, but is it really better? – The Washington Post.

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