Once upon a time computer nerds were stored in the basement, sometimes in the garage or in a forgotten meeting room at school; nowadays we store them in boardrooms and cabinet offices and among venture philanthropy concerns.

The last laugh of the intellectual ought to be occasion for celebration. But not when the evil genius is twisted at the expense of humanism or evidence-based logic (a true tautology that somehow, in today’s euphemistic edubabble actually passes as an acceptable conditional). There is so much going on these days in obeisance to the hegemony of technology that just makes no sense from a human-point-of-view, you just have to wonder about those nerds.

There are a lot of examples to highlight. Key among them might be the subversion of empathy for children and a cherishing of their childhood at the command of Big Education’s Testing Imperative. It is nothing short of heart-breaking to read thousands of anecdotes about children’s test-misery.

But on the other end of the spectrum, big children, high schoolers, are being subjected to an absolutely out-of-control amplification of that vortex of misery too, and to what end?

Because association and causality are widely conflated, college attendance has been railroaded as a ticket to economic security since it was once observed to be associated with it. But there is no certainty that simple attendance is relevant to economic success – even presuming that was the sole justification for attending college anyway. But at the least, merely attending college is never going to be the wellspring of success in contrast with that which was once required in order to attend and graduate from an institute of higher education: let’s call this, say, “academic acuity”. The notion that simply attending college or rolling back that trope to High School and championing “college readiness” at the expense of all else [especially the comments] – this notion is just a Big Fat Emperor with no clothes.

But the amazing irony is this Big Fat College Readiness Testing Emperor. It is being spun by the same crowd who are yanking youths’ chains all along: the computer geeks championing Big Data on your kids from demographics to testing to college entrance. The SAT is a big game, as much self-reflexive as self-testing. Its math questions are more about gaming, logic and reasoning than math; its essays style over substance — this is an issue of preparation, not aptitude or scholastics.

Which is to say, this is an issue of diverting Education into the coffers of computers, to test, to track, to teach. We’re not developing critical thinking and we’re not teaching how to learn; we’re preparing to produce what can be measured easily, by computers. Computer tycoons are wresting an educational market from an existential process and they are laughing all the way to the bank.