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’Murika’s Educational Ontological Quandary by Richard Meyers

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wide range of teaching experiences leaves me stumped as to the direction and future of our fixation on standardized tests with

reductionist answers that fit neatly into Scantron bubble sheets. I have a recurring dream in which I am on the Larry King Live show with Arne Duncan attempting to respond to the prompt: “What is the most important challenge in American education today and how would you overcome it?” I answer the question off the cuff, pulling from my lived experience, all the while being fetishized by the popular media as a “Native American” with ties to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and poverty. Duncan’s ghostwriters and staff prep him, scripting out a cool-sounding epigram/aphorism—something like “all we need to do is inspire our children and give them a chance.” As a former ghostwriter for the government, I’m admittedly a bit jaded when it comes to many of our elected officials’ ability to think on their feet outside of a controlled discourse. Answering questions in real time for the media is about bundling up complexities in society, and attempting to frame a bounded product that is supposed to represent knowledge, albeit an overly simplified demonstration similar to marketing commodities. The Scantron mentality piggybacks well and reinforces the concrete-operational logic described by Piaget, never actually working to build and 43

Profile for Phillips Academy

Impressions, Ruminations, Treatises  

Essays on Intersectionality, Praxis, and the Educational Arena

Impressions, Ruminations, Treatises  

Essays on Intersectionality, Praxis, and the Educational Arena