> Now, you raise the interesting question of what we > we mean by "public sector". Your emphatic "within" > suggests to me that what you have in mind is a school > system that is state owned and operated, just as we > have now, you will correct me if I am wrong. I have > two objections to that.
Yes, I think a sovereign state has the right to implement its own version of a school system, bearing its marks and brands.
Overlap with the commercial sector is feasible, and not just at the vending machine level. A caravan of recruiter mobiles, traveling circus bizmos and so on (e.g. JetBlue ), might show up at a public school and pitch future lifestyle options in the parking lot or football field. They'd be invited guests of Uncle Sam's (if we're to get specific as to which state), i.e. the schools might have registered in some DC agency database, and now get a steady stream of visitors, complete with feedback forms.
> My first objection is to your expectation of > of change ("huge variety of public sector options").
Don't forget summer schools, NASA's space camps and the like. The economic barriers are real (and it's not clear you have a plan to remove them either, as merit-based entrance exams have a way of reinforcing whatever subculture controls the testing regime). But that doesn't mean we don't have diversity already. Don't equate equality of opportunity (as in some games of chance) with operational possibilities, complete with enrollees. http://www.nsa.gov/about/about00008.cfm
> All this talk (and you are far from the only one) of > implementing desirable changes in a system whose > structure remains fundamentally unchanged passes > decisively from social science fiction into fantasy > (I am fictionalizing not the sciences but the social > sciences). The expectation of important changes in a
I don't see a need to put the word "social" in front of science fiction, your style of straw man tagging in advance of declaring war on (because "socialism" is your red flag bull charging signal).
It's just science fiction, of some brand or another, showing how we could remove economic barriers to accessing diversity, by offering scholarships through these recruiting caravans -- a chance for kids and camp representatives to meet, test each other (kids are checking out their options, as much as the recruiters are checking out the kids -- I know this from interviewing prospects for Princeton over the last couple years).
So, starting with summer camps lets say. And overseas, we might have more year-round TuxLab style operations centers, given resistence to gnu math is far less in societies without the same entrenched interests (your "mafia" or whatever you call it -- they have their own mafias, in-groups or whatever).
> structurally unchanged system flies in the face of > massive evidence to the contrary. Maybe, in some
What, societies don't change rather quickly in some dimensions from time to time? Remember the waves made by "new math" (to the point of knowing satire in Tom Lehrer's treatment)? Now add the Internet.
Why couldn't our next cultural tsunami be *at least* as big as that Sputnik era revamping of usa.k16 (I count the upper four grades including batallions of teachers, about to about face to lead the next charge, right over the top of Calculus Mountain (where we lose a lot of troop strength)).
But this time we could revamp minus that particular cold warrior USA vs. USSR spin (it'd still be pure and cold, but we're experimenting with being less mind-numbingly bipolar these days).
> If you want to live to see meaningful improvements in > public education, if you are not prepared to > sacrifice several more generations of students to a > vain hope, you have to think in terms of structural > change.
I do think of structural change, and I've been doing more than just talking about it. I've used this archive to chronicle some of the activities hackers have been undertaking in service of this new infrastructure. For example, Google Video and YouTube play a role. We have servers going into The Dalles. The camps are at least in storyboard phase, it's just a matter of revectoring some of those security/defense dollars into new circuit designs for motherboard earth. Rising living standards is part of the plan. Bill and Melinda Gates want to be a part of the action (and are doing so in part through school reform, you may have noticed).
> My second objection is to the sacrosanct nature of > of the current structure of public education. There > are several examples of social welfare being > implemented by means different from our current > public schools. The first, most obvious one is > state-subsidized scholarships to colleges. This is > well known and has been debated before. I have yet > to understand the argument for why it is alright to > spend public money for private college education but > not for private K-12 education.
That's a complex question, answered in part by the history of Austria, up through the Vienna Circle and so on, and what we today mean by "liberal arts." Colleges and universities are still bastions, in a lot of ways, against zealotry and fanaticism in all of its forms. That's partly by design.
A paid professors usually knows that she or he is missing big pieces of the puzzle, and so hesitates to get too bug eyed about stuff. The need to do more homework is presumed, as engrained in academic culture.
I wish more of this open-mindedness ethic would spill over into K12 across the board, including into the private academies (some of which already have the right stuff, I'm very aware).
If more people "got it" about the liberal arts and its commitments, then I think Uncle Sam would have less of a problem footing the bill for outsourcing training in civics and civil liberties, USA history and the like, with lots of wide open free time and encouragement to students to follow their own hearts in their studies (no brick walls appear, no doors swing shut, just because some author isn't "approved by the authorities" in this or that mathematics or philosophy department).
> Another example is legal services. It is a matter > of inordinate importance in a society like ours > that there be one law for rich and poor alike. Let's > please not get sidetracked about the imperfections in > our system, of which there are many, since we still > do as well as almost any other society and better > than most.
That's the archetypal cop out right there. Let's work on fortifying our self-assured egos that our system is at least better than most, and forget about self-improvement. "Why try to be better if we're already best?" -- is a really stupid question, when people all around you are in misery, and fixes (technical or otherwise) are ready at hand. That's just to stand and stare like an idiot. "No education happening here" should be stamped on such a one's forhead.
> It turns out that poor people share many > of the same legal concerns as rich people (they do
> not do much estate planning, but they get divorced,
Now that we have Sims 2, it's easier to do estate planning, although the software add-on market hasn't currently produced a full version for the commercial market. As we analyze the lifestyles of rich and famous, we will simulate their transaction histories, to get a better idea of how they became so privileged.
> they get sued, they have problems with their > landlords, they have immigration issues, etc.). They > need access to legal services.
I don't think you're very up to date on our work in this area, in terms of upgrading social services by means of open source software. Instead of entrenching the poor in that social role, by handing them neophyte lawyers (usually), we have plans to bring down certain barriers to higher living standards. Through education for example.
Your science fiction is definitely that: fiction. You think the game is to keep the poor poor, and then provide social services for them (oh oh, there's that red flag word again -- so you call them legal services, and they sound pretty dreary and drab, just like we're used to).
Your simulations are unpersuasive. Hackers are too effective at showing the economically deprived that their living standards could get better, if they'd just take us up on some of those summer work/study liberal arts camp options (plus we'd like to get on with the OMR proposal, at least somewhere in the Congressional Record). Lots of brand name advertising is ready to piggy back on these initiatives (some private companies really earn their place in the sun).
> Government supplies legal services to poor people > by funding agents. If you are a lawyer, or a > group of lawyers, who wants to provide legal services > to poor people, you file the appropriate paperwork > and you will get money from the government to do the > job. Thus, there exists no law firm that is owned > and operated by the state to offer free public legal > services. Rather, the state funds lawyers to do a > public interest job.
LAWCAP in action. Yawn. Where's my remote? Click click.
> A similar thing obtains for mental health > services. While the saddest cases may be > relegated to state mental hospitals, a great deal of > mental health services are provided through private > agencies that get a lot of their money from the > public purse.
Ew, a "public purse". Sounds so antediluvean.
> Granted, many of these legal and mental health > agencies will tell you that, like the public > schools, they do not have enough money, and they may > be right. But the only point I want to make, in this > case, is that all sorts of important public services > are now, as we speak, being supplied through > organizations whose structure is different from the > public school system. There is nothing sacrosanct > about the public schools, as they are currently > constituted.
I'm not going to quibble with you there. Here in Oregon, we've just launched a new charter with state of the art internals, fresh off the drawing boards at Stanford, but unlike anything currently operating.
More such experiments may be tried. I'm all for universities contributing their designs. The schools might be small, and like I said, don't have to compete directly at first. We'll give public school teachers first dibs in a lot of cases, to sample what's coming (I'm referring back to the K|1-7|8-12|college > newteachers.txt pipeline).
> >But at least I have some ideas and am willing to > >share them publicly and openly. > > I, too, have an idea that I am sharing. My idea > is that the very best chance for your ideas to > ever see the light of day (i.e., to make an impact on > some non-trivial number of students) is to make > structural changes in the current public school > system. (This may well be the strongest argument
Which is what I am doing. I'm encouraging more private sector involvment in prototyping what could become publicly supported opportunities, open to a wide mix of ethnicities, with a range of talents, abilities and disabilities. More team work is needed, and better B2B around who wants to have what responsibilities, in terms of producing our gnu math DVDs and so on. It's time to get on with the branding. Stay tuned.
> against me, but let's leave that for another time :) > > Haim
You act like my ideas don't already see the light of day, yet armies of hackers go to work every day churning out open source code suitable for inclusion in our snow-balling cybercurriculum. It's not a "getting going" puzzle that I'm facing, it's a "retain quality even while expanding exponentially" puzzle. I think because of the time and effort put into this by my contemporaries, many of them working for decades before I was born, we have the army we need to pull off our math makeover (which is not just cosmetic nor just for girly men, as one governor might put it).
PS: what does "Unanointed" mean in the title you chose for this thread? Sounds like Catholic terminology. Are you Catholic Haim?