Children are not “broken” and they do not need to be “fixed”:
I think that your thoughts on the “brokenness” of students are spot on. You have identified a belief system that many in education have without acknowledging it.
If we believe students are broken and it is our job to “fix” them, then there is only so much that we can rely upon them for within the classroom. We cannot rely upon them to make their own instructional choices. We cannot rely upon them to teach one another. We cannot rely upon them to be reliable collaborators.
Fortunately, for the reasons you have outlined here, this is not the case. We do not have to be the only expert in the room. We do not have to make dots or red pen marks on every paper we get in the hopes that these will mean something to our students.
Thank you for helping us to think through the “why” of math and the ways in which we can allow students to authentically think through problems.