Category Archives: meaning

In New Mexico, who is “we” exactly?

In talking about the education challenges in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and New Mexico, you and I like to say, “We are all in this together.”

But, just who is the “we” we talking about?

Answer:  It often depends on who you are. Yes … YOU.

  • where you grew up (which neighborhood, city, state, region, country) –
  • other places you have travelled to or lived –
  • who you hang out with –
  • who you are not uncomfortable with –
  • what color your skin is –
  • what your cultural heritage is –
  • what language you speak most fluently –
  • whether you are male or female –
  • whether you are gay or straight –
  • your political party or thinking –
  • are you an entrepreneur or an employee –

Now … imagine what it feels like, just for a moment or two, to let all those definitions and conditions…  just … drop … away …

My guess is you would begin to notice that it’s just you. Yourself. Standing there. Pondering.

And then – maybe – you could imagine some of the “others” you can both see and can’t see, but know are there.

And notice that, son-of-a-gun, they are very much just like you – and you are very much just like them:

  • same senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting
  • have a mother and a father, whether they are still alive or not
  • like to eat when hungry
  • like to sleep or nap when tired
  • would like to have access to somewhere to feel safe for a while
  • would like to be on life’s merry-go-round even if it’s not on the outside horses where the gold rings are

And now notice … has your definition, understanding, experience of “we” just expanded a little bit?


Now let’s go out and do this thing called community … together.

Education isn’t expensive … ignorance is!

This from Franklin Schargel, one of my favorite authors, motivational speakers, trainers and lifelong educators.

It is time to end the charade of the concern of politicians and conservatives about the future of America.  The United States supports the building of schools in and around the world because we know that education is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to build a country.  Go into a room of highly successful people anywhere in the room and you will find one commonality. Most people sitting in that room were able to achieve their success by succeeding in their educational systems. Education should be the one budget item that is protected at all costs.  In the 21st century, great countries will have great schools.  So it is strange that we engage in nation building in foreign countries and scrimp at home.  How is it that we can afford to increase our military budget, and cannot afford to invest in America’s children’s future?  It would appear to me that this is a great way for our country to compete with other countries in the future.  If we look at China and India, they were able to leapfrog much of the rest of the world by laser-like focusing on education.

 We keep on hearing that education is expensive.  It isn’t! Ignorance is.   We either will pay for education up-stream or the lack of education downstream.  Over 70% of our nation’s prisoners are school dropouts.  We were told that the reason we couldn’t limit executive pay on Wall Street was because we needed the best and brightest to run these companies, yet the same people who told us that are now saying we need to limit teacher pay to save money.

 Good schools benefit everyone. Poor children who get a good education become successful adults who contribute rather than drain the system. Tax dollars are going to them one way or the other.  We need to find a more equitable way to pay for schools other than property tax, especially as our population grows older. It creates a huge burden on property owners and massive inequities.  America was built by having free, public education for all.  Yet, we are abandoning our goal of a good education for all. Budget cuts are undermining our long-term prospects for a prosperous society, by shortchanging our youth of the skills that they need to contribute.  We’re eating America’s seed corn!

Thank you Franklin!

10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing

Words and distinctions matter

This delightful article describes, explains and illustrates just how important – and delightful – appreciating distinctions can be. Here are the 10 ideas discussed in the article:

  • Proof
  • Theory
  • Quantum Uncertainty and Quantum Weirdness
  • Learned versus Innate
  • Natural
  • Gene
  • Statistically Significant
  • Survival of the Fittest
  • Geologic Timescales
  • Organic

And … I have a small personal quibble with #3 – Quantum Uncertainty and Quantum Weirdness.

Ok, so it’s true that, “Just because the universe is not deterministic doesn’t mean that you are the one controlling it.” 

But, and here’s my minor quibble, Quantum Entanglement argues that I, in some way, affect that which I observe; the observer and the observed are “entangled.” There are many of “us” observing and acting all the time, throwing us into the domains of Chaos Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems, and they demonstrably have the capacity to create self-organizing, “emergent” (not seen before, novel or surprising) behaviors and systems – which in turn observe and interact with its/their surrounding environment … to infinitum.

If quantum (sub-atomic) particles (quarks, leptons, mesons, muons …) somehow created a complex adaptive system called “Tom” typing these words – and the computer I’m typing on – and the internet that transmits this blog – is pretty strong evidence to me of that emergent behavior I mentioned above.

And I find my participation with and interaction within all this very cool.

You can read the complete article here.

Question for a kid in school – video – 3:10

This little 3:10 video asks a question in an ‘in-your-face’ way.

Then goes on to answer it.

Then goes on to say why really matters.

Enjoy ~

Why is Feedback Shyamalan’s #3 Practice?

Shyamalan’s 3rd identified practice for closing the education-opportunity-achievement gap is Feedback. Regular, consistent, timely feedback in formats usable by teachers, principles, and parents. This TEDx talk describes the behavioral economics, psychology and power of feedback in some very interesting ways.

Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?

“Despite our best efforts, bad or inexplicable decisions are as inevitable as death and taxes and the grocery store running out of your favorite flavor of ice cream. They’re also just as predictable. Why, for instance, are we convinced that “sizing up” at our favorite burger joint is a good idea, even when we’re not that hungry? Why are our phone lists cluttered with numbers we never call? Dan Ariely, behavioral economist, has based his career on figuring out the answers to these questions, and in his bestselling book Predictably Irrational (re-released in expanded form in May 2009), he describes many unorthodox and often downright odd experiments used in the quest to answer this question.”

Only $1.50-per-day more for a healthy diet! Really!

This seemed like a timely and useful article – Tom

“If you want to eat a more healthful diet, you’re going to have to shell out more cash, right? (After all, Whole Foods didn’t get the nickname “Whole Paycheck” for nothing.)

But until recently, that widely held bit of conventional wisdom hadn’t really been assessed in a rigorous, systematic way, says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

So he and his colleagues decided to pore over 27 studies from 10 different developed countries that looked at the retail prices of food grouped by healthfulness. Across these countries, it turns out, the cost difference between eating a healthful and unhealthful diet was pretty much the same: about $1.50 per day. And that price gap held true when they focused their research just on U.S. food prices, the researchers found in their meta-analysis of these studies.

“I think $1.50 a day is probably much less than some people expected,” Mozaffarian tells The Salt, “but it’s also a real barrier for some low-income families,” for whom it would translate to about an extra $45 a month or $550 a year.

Still, from a policy perspective, he argues, $1.50 a day is chump change. “That’s the cost of a cup of coffee,” he says. “It’s trivial compared to the cost of heart disease or diabetes, which is hundreds of billions of dollars” — both in terms of health care costs and lost productivity.”

Read the whole article  here.

Just for fun – Carl Jung on history

There are ongoing, and often heated, conversations regarding New Mexico education, curriculums, strengths and weaknesses. It feels like this quote from Carl Jung on history presents an interesting context for these deliberations – what is wanted and needed, who are the important individual players, what is the nature of the epoch we are inevitably making?

“The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers.  We make our own epoch.”