Peter Greene is our greatest debunker of phony ideas. Today he takes on a program called “the Learning Machine,” which big-time thought leaders are promoting. Think of a program that can “build intelligence.” Think of a mechanistic approach to human development. Think of turning out people that meet the specifications of their designers. Think of humans programmed to be corporate tools.

Learning Machine’s website has the phrase “Build Intelligence” right there on their page, which gives you an idea of were they’re coming from. But it’s this post from Natalie Smolenski, “Cultural Anthropologist & Dedicated Account Manager at Learning Machine,” that really captures just how deeply and fundamentally wrong this particular band of education reform is.

In “A DSM for Achievement,” Smolenski lays out how educated human beings can be produced just like toasters or wood screws. And do note– the whole article is not just Smolenski whipping something up on her own, but spinning off of a speech by Arthur Levine, President of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, delivered as the keynote at the 2016 Parchment Conference on Innovating Academic Credentials. This is not just some insane notion from the fringes, but an insane notion that a lot of Really Important People are attached to.

I have a bedrock belief that sanity eventually conquers crazy ideas, no matter who else endorses them.

The fight to beat them back is very time-consuming. But it is a fight that is worth having.