In some ways, managing a company in order to (solely) maximize shareholder value is similar to educating students for standardized tests. The emphasis is on the results of the process and the means to the ends are not properly considered, anything that does not directly affect the results is ignored, and content that is necessary or useful beyond the results is often dismissed. The short-term mindset that focuses on the immediate results does not properly prepare the company or the student for anything other than that particular goal and this can be harmful, particularly in the long-run.
There is also an emphasis on the quantity of the results over the quality of the content. Western, ‘enlightened’ society tends to focus on what is quantifiable over what is more difficult or subjective to measure. Although a child may be growing into a fine adult, we often ask how they are doing in school and expect an answer that includes grades or how they scored in their school tests. It is easier to compare scores than character. This is similar to public companies, in that many investors are more concerned with how they company will do in their next quarterly results than they are in the company itself (other than how that will directly affect the results). ‘Responsible’ and ‘well-run’ are not easily quantifiable and therefore not very helpful as inputs on a spreadsheet.
In both cases, those who write the tests determine the direction the company or student takes, sometimes without even having a stake in either. This forces both the company and the students to pursue goals set by someone else, often at the cost of sacrificing their own purposes in order to meet them.