At the height of the concept of pedagogy, the human teacher is a midwife of ideas, a coaxer of burgeoning human life. There is nothing to measure here except: Did the student grow to be praiseworthy or condemnable, to be rich or poor, to be happy or unhappy, to be well or ill, to be good or bad? That is, the polity’s values determine the success or failure of a particular education. And for values, only the concrete can be meaningfully measured—only the quality of the student and not some abstract quantity said to be “possessed” or “achieved” by the student.
The problem of American education is twofold. First, we measure the abstract. Second, the values by which we measure, those skewed values that led us to choose the abstract over the concrete, those weak values that led us to think that we had become value-free and that we had abandoned the tyranny of values—those values, how do we say this?—in order to “pass” in the current system of education, a teacher must be less than a midwife and a student may be less than a human.