July 9, 2007

The Polyphemus of Assessments

So...who was Polyphemus and why am I writing about him? Here is a link to who he was. http://www.timelessmyths.com/classical/odyssey.html#Polyphemus However, I am writing about him because in bottom line America, land of the SOLs which don't equal education, land of the history books that don't teach history, we now are continually assailed with assessments for one thing and another. Assessments that lead to firings and downsizings. Assessment = test in my personal knowledge base. Firm-speak says that assessment = the knowledge a person has and what additional training they need to become more useful to the organization. In other words, how fungible is your work force? Can one person substitute for another? If we are not fungible enough, HR Polyphemus types will choose who isn't up to snuff and fire them. Thus, the profit of the bottom line is preserved. Sadly, though, no one seems to know who Polyphemus is. And I have to ask myself -- whose knowledge is important here? The fact that Polyphemus chose death for any argonauts he could catch or how best to insert a Table of Contents into a document? As a Humanities major, I know which knowledge I choose. I find this dwindling of cultural knowledge unnerving. If we don't know where we come from, where our myths come from, where our national world view originates, all the Table of Contents in the world will never make us smarter, fiercer, or better than other nations. Until we grow sense from this nonsensical world....

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