Good Data Star Trek
Asked to name the single biggest reason for work overload, teachers have named Data time and time again.
Data, they claim has tuned teachers in data managers and schools into audit factories. Too much data is about control and not improvement. Too much is used incorrectly and the vast majority of it is useless. Yet we still obey the monthly data trawl to satisfy the demands of a data-led system that is in constant preparation for a flying OfSTED visit. Data, far from being a benign want-to-be human being has now turned to what he did best, cold logistics and a complete misunderstanding of the human condition.
I was in a work-room, a meeting room where other teachers had gathered to input their Data. This was the second time around for most of them as they had been told that the Data that they had originally inputted was not good enough, so they had to do the process again. What was required was Data that matched the inspirational messages that the school was sending out, not that truthful rubbish that could be used to inform every interested party as to where individuals and groups of individuals were at any time in the education trek. No, what was required was something far more stimulating; Data should itself be aspirational; it should have a persuasive voice and drive forward improvements using the latest growths in mindsets and behaviour.
“We want you to put in some new levels for your students.”
“Because the ones that you put (they said ‘Inputted’ as this is more technical vocabulary) in were incorrect.”
“They are what I honestly think that my students are at and what they will get, based on the current attainment, work ethic, and the unforeseen effects of global warming.”
“Well, we’ve looked at them (we means he or her, singular, but the plural sounds more authoritative) and we have come to the conclusion that they are wrong. You need to revise them up.”
In the current jargon that doesn’t mean that one is to rapidly introduce a system of recapping sessions at lunchtime or after school or at weekends or during holidays (although this is implicit in a teacher’s new terms and conditions). What is does mean is that the levels need to be increased. Instead of saying Level 2 it will now say Level 7. Easy!
“But these students will not get Level 7. Not even if they stay here for the rest of their lives (which the Department of Education is probably considering).”
The returning look spoke of treason, heresy, the discovery of an ‘anti-growth-set plot’ that needed public trial and execution.
The discussion has moved from a reasonable belief that sometimes teachers and institutions can place glass ceilings on certain groups of students, thus inhibiting their ability to fly. I understand this. If my teachers had not shown true belief in me, I would not have reached the lofty heights that I have reached today. SUPPLY.
Now, however, the ‘aspirational Data’ is there to drive forward rapid improvement. It is there to get the teaching staff to pull out their collective fingers so that they can perform like true human-beings- Androids that is: Resistance is futile. They have already teleported into schools around the UK and are now in the process of doing similar things around the world. The great democracy of the USA has already fallen and soon we will even be able to export our understanding of state education to the North Koreans.
Data, Data, Data, where did it all go wrong?
There is an important moment in Star Trek, First Contact, when Data is seduced by the Borg queen. She rubs both his face and his newly found ego. She blows his arm that has been freshly planted with real human skin. His hairs rose, and so did mine. What type of Borg queen could be so pornographic? Not like the good old-olden days. But Data was seduced by the apparent logic of it all. He liked the blowing a little too much and began to believe in the new order. Not even Captain Picard could change his mind…at first.
The film ended with the equilibrium restored. Data was still an android with human longings, Picard was still his mentor and mate, and the Borg were defeated.
Data should have stuck with the happy ending instead of accepting a full contract as an educational invader and doer of bad things. Data became an Ofsted Inspector and replicated himself a hundred times in the quest to rid teaching of its humanity. Schools became holo-decks of statistics, students became vessels in which to place Borg implants and teachers became targets.
So, the Borg had turned him after all.
What a wily woe-bot!