Helping the scarecrow ...

I have long held the notion that in education, we are no better than the Wizard of Oz and his solution to the problem presented by the scarecrow in his pursuit of 'brains'.

If you read the story (or watch the film), the scarecrow desires knowledge and the associated recognition (intelligence). During the journey through Oz, the scarecrow does many brave and wise things, showing that whilst they had a head of straw, there is something of substance between the ears.

Yet after his journey, he is seemingly duped, no brain for Mr Crow after all, instead some pieces of paper. The Wizard, in a moment of sanctimonious piffle, declares that the place for 'brains' is gaining pieces of paper from Universities.

As a trader in these relics, what does intrigue is how these are sought (and how I also seek them). It matters not the level, but the sense of accomplishment and pride that goes with the paper. Often exemplifying a process of pain and lobotomizing endurance.

Yet, so many in education forget what many students have to accomplish to get these pieces of paper and the value they hold when it comes to how it may affect their lives (and livelihood). Dishing out good/bad/indifferent grades with reckless abandon to what this may mean to the soul at the other end.

After all, what are brains and how may we truly represent their accomplishment.


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