Yeah!! More jargon! That’ll solve our problems!

This is about a word being used: aspirations. It’s use is definitely not that of something one aspires to but rather some pretty specific educational jargon.

I have heard this word used in the context of goals, timelines, etc. only recently and from the Bush administration. Has something occurred in the one year I’ve been retired? Where does this word come from, i.e. is there a particular new magic pill for ailing schools going around that uses this word? In the past I’ve heard management by objective, curriculum mapping, and many, many others, so I’m wondering if this is something new come down the pike or is it something like “my bad” that’s been around a long time but which I just never noticed.

So often words that require a deep personal commitment are picked up as jargon and shoved down teachers’ throats as a new mantra, a technique for improving schools without spending money or making teachers’ working conditions better, or lowering class size, and so on. Let’s see, what else…….biofeedback, teaching machines, distance learning, CAL (which I thought a California transportation system) for computer assisted learning….. oh, and we were going to do away with teaching and replace it with “information delivery systems”, making us delivery boys and girls. Behavioral psychology would guarantee learning as it would replace intrinsic motivation with external stimuli. Testing would allow us to unerringly track students into the classes most suitable to their intellectual level (dummies to the left, college bound to the right).

Then there are interest inventories, which actually seem to be of some use. However, they do require an interpreter who can guide the student properly instead of fulfilling the needs of corporations and parents.

Can you help me think of other “programs” that have come down the pike and disappeared without a trace?

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