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!

How to turn a (huge) problem into a solution

How to turn a (huge) problem into a solution

A cool example of how to turn a problem into a solution – there is so much good stuff here to explore and appreciate

-  18-year old Boyan Slat spends a half a year studying  plastic pollution and how to use the power of nature to clean itself up

-  the young simply aren’t smart enough nor have sufficient experience to appreciate why certain things cannot be done or certain problems are beyond solving

-  click through the website and enjoy the crisp, clarity of its design/functionality

-  also notice how clear, crisp and understandable the problem and concept  (solution) statements are

Then, consider how some of these concepts might be turned to advantage in viewing and languaging other “problems” in New Mexico that might benefit from this kind of thinking   —  water, education achievement gaps, fracking, homelessness, family poverty, family violence, fill-in-the-blank.

Just let this website wash over you and allow your mind to ponder.

Enjoy,

Tom

 

Here are the top 10 skills for the future

Want to know what the ‘experts’ say about the world kids are heading into, and what skills they will need to succeed? Here they are:

  • Sense-making (or seeing what things are connected, and how)
  • Social intelligence
  • Novel and adaptive thinking
  • Cross-cultural competencies
  • Computational thinking – seeing trends and patterns
  • New media literacy
  • “Transdisciplinarity,” or generalization
  • Design mindset
  • Cognitive load management – what to not pay attention to
  • Virtual collaboration – effectively employing technology

You can read the whole article here.

CA Middle School students’ solution to corporate dominance of government

Some students at Medea Creek Middle School in southern California, have a very clear understanding of what’s broken about our economic and governance systems. Probably a much clearer idea than most Americans.

Here is a brief article including the less-than-9-minute video they made to explain it to the rest of us:

ularresistance.org/young-students-solution-to-corporate-rule/

In the first paragraph there is a link to the school’s website if you’re interested; it’s a pretty cool website.

Kudos and thanks to these young thinkers and voices.

What might Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and New Mexico middle schoolers be capable of that we’re not taking advantage of?

Please feel free to share this widely..

Tom

Want to Learn to Code? There’s a Board Game for That.

Raj Sidhu had one of the most coveted design jobs in New York City — and then he left it all to play board games.

The 23-year-old’s first project, Code Monkey Island, (click here for a short video) teaches kids the logic of computer programming through the playful dynamic of monkeys competing over bananas. The game teaches you all of the logic of basic programming under the guise of the game: Instead of dice, it’s governed by cards that work in tandem to impact how many spaces (if any) you may move per turn.

Raj has taken faith in his idea and run with it. After quitting his job at Quirky, an invention company, he put his full energy into creating board games, seeking funding in the playground where ideas and amateur venture capitalists roam: Kickstarter.

After a chaotic month of donations and lack thereof, some last-minute publicity allowed Code Monkey Island to meet its stretch goal and then some.

After a chaotic month of donations and lack thereof, some last-minute publicity allowed Code Monkey Island to meet its stretch goal and then some. Raj spoke with Mashable about life after Kickstarter; funding is always an encouraging step, but many of Raj’s contemporaries have fallen prey to the pitfalls of perk fulfillment, lack of preparation and failure to find the right industry support.

Raj said that he was able to learn a great deal about board game creation and marketing almost entirely from online forums. He mapped out a game plan and struck a deal with a manufacturer, and now, he’s on track to ship out the first wave of the game later this summer to Kickstarter backers.

“This has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my.life,” Raj says. “I couldn’t imagine not doing this again.” You can preorder his game, which is for both kids and adults, here.

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.

Evidence that you can’t lure entrepreneurs with tax cuts

Mission: Graduate, ABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP) are putting us on the right track to growth, both short- and long-term.

150 executives surveyed by Endeavor Insight, a research firm that examines how entrepreneurs contribute to job creation and long-term economic growth, said a skilled workforce and high quality of life were the main reasons why they founded their companies where they did; taxes weren’t a significant factor.  This suggests that states that cut taxes and then address the revenue loss by letting their schools, parks, roads, and public safety deteriorate will become less attractive to the kinds of people who found high-growth companies.  (Hat tip to urbanologist Richard Florida for calling attention to the study.)

Rock on Mission: GraduateABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP)!

You can read the entire article here.