I recently finished the Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which is just a brilliant and scary book about how we eat and how these choices impact our world. Not surprisingly this got me thinking about education. I have two points here:
First, a lot of the book is about corn as a very successful monoculture. Humans cultivate it in huge swaths of our country to the exclusion of almost anything else. Corn, with human help, wipes out everything else. As a result we have a tremendously unstable ecological situation where corn is (almost) the only organism and the corn is totally dependent on humans to reproduce. The only goal is yield per acre, and whatever has to be done to the corn or the environment to improve yield is being done.
This is an exact analogy for our educational system. We have an educational monoculture founded on the same principles - yeild - the most output possible per unit input. What does this mean in education? It means higher test scores per dollar. If your school is not producing an adequate yield (AYP in NCLB terms), then it is time for you to shut down. The emphasis on yield is forcing schools to create a monoculture of students. Students should all be the same and maximize yield.
Macronutrients as the be all and end all.