Thursday, September 1, 2011

Giving Students an Education That Meets Their Needs. Who’s to say what they Need?

A state arises, as I conceive, out of the needs of mankind; no one is self-sufficing, but all of us have many wants. -- Plato
What do students need? Do they all need the same thing? Who determines who needs what? What if what some students need costs very much more than what others need? Is fairness an issue here?

Surely some students need what they don’t want; others want what they don’t need. Who decides this?

Such questions seldom get intelligent, honest answers. Instead schools and the adults involved with them give the same monotonous response -- but not in so many words:
“The kids 'need' what we are ready and willing to give them. Period. Do not waste our time with wishful thinking!”
Some educational planners claim to have a scientific approach, called “needs assessment” which tries to answer the questions above. Is this just more wishful thinking?

To continue this discussion see Needs Assessment: a fraud?
-- EGR