24) What Counts?
What counts? And who’s counting? For what purpose, and toward what social end? Some years ago the Business Roundtable and their Education and Workforce Taskforce issued an influential challenge: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” it instructed. “No executive can run a business without accurate, granular data that explains what’s working and what’s not. Our school system should be no different.” And yet, any third grade teacher will tell you that each child is unique—the one of one. Mention that to the Business Roundtable and they’ll tell you that teachers can’t be trusted because they’re just spouting “anecdotal evidence” when what’s demanded is granular data. We’re joined today by Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez, a professor of mathematics education and Latino and Latina studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who will lead us on a journey into the contested question: What counts?