2017 SXSWedu Preview

Scrubbing education's one-size-fits-all model

Illustration by Jason Stout / Thinkstock

Public education was always intended to provide an education for every student. But in the last two decades, supposedly data-driven policies and initiatives like No Child Left Behind have worked as tools of reductionism, turning what should be a universal system into a one-size-fits-all straitjacket. The drill-and-kill testing regimen has failed kids who need something extra, or maybe something different – which in turn has failed the idea of education as a public good.

SXSWedu, which takes place next week, began as the education-centric spin-off to SXSW Interactive, but now focuses as much on policy as it does technology. This year, much of its programming will explore the idea of inclusivity – relating to gender, race, poverty, or disabilities – and how education for all should truly mean "for all."

Sun.-Thu., March 5-9 at the Austin Convention Center and Downtown venues; see www.sxswedu.com.

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