"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gaze into the Crystal Ball: A Glimpse into the Future as Envisioned by Choice Architects

Following up on yesterday's post, I thought you would like to learn more information on "Nudge". I believe this theory has replaced the idea of what makes a republic a republic. Here's an online definition of "republic":

A republic is a form of government in which the citizens choose their leaders and the people (or at least a part of its people) have an impact on its government. The word "republic" is derived from the Latin phrase res publica, which can be translated as "a public affair".

As we are highlighting in these posts, the educational decisions for public education are being made mainly by organizations, leaders and czars who are not elected. These decisions have the same theme: people are to be "nudged" by "choice architects" because we (the citizens) are misguided and need to be correctly guided to make better decisions. The people (at least when it concerns education) are not considered when decisions are made for their children in public school.

We see it in the curriculum in our schools set by the State Department and EPA. We are seeing standards set not by our local or state school boards, but by a group of states based on mandates set forth by the Federal government. We are being nudged toward an accepted way of attitudes and behavior. Michelle Obama petitioned Congress to enact her program through legislation to the schools:

It’s important to be clear,” she said, “that we can’t do any of this unless we pass the Child Nutrition legislation that’s before Congress right now.”

Under the act, food sold in schools would have to meet new nutrition guidelines, but schools would get an increased amount of federal reimbursement money for meals. It would also expand the number of poorer students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.

While this may be a noble cause, should the federal government be granting monies to school if they adhere to certain legislation? This reminds me of Race to the Top grants. If states do what the Federal government mandates, they get money. If they don't agree to give up educational control, or at least adopt Common Core standards, money for certain programs (such as Title 1 money) will be withheld. Both of these scenarios sound like serious pushback to me, not nudge-like in the least.

If you are interested in learning more about "Nudge" you can visit the Nudge blogsite. Here is an interesting piece on nudging and obesity in Japan:

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Violators are given nutritional guidance and “further education” if they are still overweight after six months of dieting. The law has prompted companies to adopt nudges.

Welcome to the world of "Nudge" that is driving educational policies in the United States as well as measuring citizens' Body Mass Index (BMI) in Japan. It's already here, by the way, measuring your child's BMI and blood pressure is included in RTTT mandates. Could that "further education" in Japan be considered "re-education" in the United States? Apparently the British have been re-educated since 2008 of the dangers of potatoes:

A spokesman for Devon County council said: "The new guidelines came into place for secondary schools this month and all schools are required to abide by them."

The United States has banned potatoes from WIC purchases and are now proposing potatoes be banned from school lunches:

Talk of banning spuds may sound impossible in Idaho, but the federal government is proposing to do just that when it comes to school lunches. The USDA is expected to release changes to the federal school lunch program by the end of the year.

I guess with the push for "International Education Week" we should welcome the nudges we receive, right? After all, we're one big happy global family. We are expected to share the same menus and watch our waistlines. The government and other organizations will make certain that happens. It's the transformation of the culture. Be sure to thank your choice architects.

It's ironic, isn't it? If you think about it, the founders revolted against England for many reasons and transformation is mentioned in the reasons for the Revolution. As you read this explanation of the founders' discontent, think of the underlying cause for the transformation they were seeking. Was it to control the populace or to allow them true freedom of choice?

The American Revolution was the result of a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations in early American society and government, collectively referred to as the American Enlightenment. Americans rejected the oligarchies common in aristocratic Europe at the time, championing instead the development of republicanism based on the Enlightenment understanding of liberalism. Among the significant results of the revolution was the creation of a representative government responsible to the will of the people.

Where is the will of the people in "Nudge"? It's non-existent. The mandates set forth in education or health or food choices represent the oligarchy of "choice architects". When did our government become responsible to an oligarchy vs to the will of the people?

1 comment:

  1. "can be translated as "a public affair""

    Well, yeah, I'm sure it can be translated that way, as long as your intent is to lie to those you're translating it to - which obviously is their intent.

    Personally, I'll go with John Adams translation, which was part of a post I put up earlier this year,

    >>>"... an example, from John Adams in his Defense of Constitutions, a very popular (in their time) examination and comparison of earlier Constitutions, here discussing the key to a successful Republic,

    "...This, indeed, appears to be the true and only true definition of a republic. The word res, every one knows, signified in the Roman language wealth, riches, property; the word publicus, quasi populicus, and per syncope pôplicus, signified public, common, belonging to the people; res publica, therefore, was publica res, the wealth, riches, or property of the people.*Res populi, and the original meaning of the word republic could be no other than a government in which the property of the people predominated and governed; and it had more relation to property than liberty. It signified a government, in which the property of the public, or people, and of every one of them, was secured and protected by law. This idea, indeed, implies liberty; because property cannot be secure unless the man be at liberty to acquire, use, or part with it, at his discretion, and unless he have his personal liberty of life and limb, motion and rest, for that purpose. It implies, moreover, that the property and liberty of all men, not merely of a majority, should be safe; for the people, or public, comprehends more than a majority, it comprehends all and every individual; and the property of every citizen is a part of the public property, as each citizen is a part of the public, people, or community. The property, therefore, of every man has a share in government, and is more powerful than any citizen, or party of citizens; it is governed only by the law. "[Emphasis mine]

    This understanding required an understanding of those rules of reasoning and virtues. Required. The goal of Education in the Founder’s generation, was to instill love of Virtue, Law and ‘moral ambition’, seeking to become a person of respectable, principled, character, fit for liberty – to live it and to defend it. The material of their Education was the classics, particularly Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch and Polybius as well as a strong focus on naturalism, botany, Newtonian Physics and political economy – as well as a heaping helping of the Bible (Harvard was established as a Divinity school!), and it instilled in them, not just through reading and memorizing (and translating from the original Greek or Latin), but by actively defending and debating the central ideas conveyed in the cannon… with other students, and with their Teacher – a Teacher who was expected to be a master of the material. These debates involved not only the material at hand, but were expected to employ and reinforce rules and techniques of logic and rhetoric, mostly as defined by Aristotle, which developed minds able and capable of comprehending fallacies in an argument – an arguments compatibility, or incompatibility with reality. <<<

    But of course that translation, and that form of teaching, is far too likely to produce people who think for themselves, and whose reflex when 'nudged', is to deck the nudger.

    Can't have that.


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