‘Flat-Out Corruption’: DeVos Accused of Scheming to Stop Next President From Canceling Student Loan Debt

December 5, 2019 Leave a comment

The cancellation of student debt has all of those who made loans weak in the knees. The fact that “… the DeVos family is heavily invested in the student loan industry” AND the fact that her proposal to hand the government loan program over to a “stand-alone government corporation” could prevent the next President from forgiving loans reeks of corruption. But in the current administration, this kind of blatant corruption in the name of “efficiency” and “eliminating needless government regulation” is unsurprising.

Source: ‘Flat-Out Corruption’: DeVos Accused of Scheming to Stop Next President From Canceling Student Loan Debt

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Here’s What’s Happening in SOME American Teenage Bedrooms— And It Isn’t Good News to this Geezer

December 2, 2019 Leave a comment

I just finished reading a recent NYTimes article by Taylor Lorenz titled “Here’s What’s Happening in the American Teenage Bedroom“… and I am in despair if this is the way American teenagers are defining “success”. The article describes a 15 year old suburban Philadelphia teenager named Rowan Winch who is making $10,000 a month through various on-line entrepreneurial undertakings. But, as the article notes, Rowan Winch is not interested in money.

Rowan, like most teenagers on the internet, wasn’t after fame or money, though he made a decent amount — at one point $10,000 a month and more, he said. What Rowan wanted was clout.

On the internet, clout is a social currency that can be used to obtain just about anything. Rack up enough while you’re young, and doors everywhere begin to open. College recruiters notice you. Job opportunities and internships come your way. Your social status among peers rises, money flows in. Even fame becomes a possibility, if that’s what you’re after.

The description of Rowan Winch ceaselessly entering posts on his phone brought to mind scenes from the movie Social Network, based on the “life story” of the role-model of all tech geeks Mark Zuckerberg. And based on what I’ve read about Mr. Zuckerberg, he, too, was after clout more than he was after wealth or fame.

I find the quest for clout even more distressing and disturbing than the quest for money or fame… for “clout” seems to be an anodyne tech term for POWER… and those who seek clout— like those who seek power— are not interested in the ends of power, only the acquisition of it. And the notion that someone who spends hours on end staring at screens, searching for memes that attract clicks from others, trying to accumulate “clout” strikes me as a soulless undertaking.

One of the story lines in the article was how Instagram suspended one of Rowan Winch’s most popular sites, leaving him temporarily bereft. He showed resilience, though… with a plan to replace his blocked Instagram site with a YouTube site. Here’s his explanation of why, which concludes the story:

“With YouTube I want to get big enough so the people that inspired me are my friends. It was like that with my meme pages,” he said.

“The more followers you have, the more voice you have,” he said. “The more clout you have, the more power you have.”

When a teenager believes “followers” are “friends” it is evident we need to increase social-emotional learning in schools.

 

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CNN Report on Gun Violence Shows Sad Statistic: US is Leader in Children’s Gun Deaths

December 1, 2019 Leave a comment

This headline from a March 2019 post from a CNN article by Ray Sanchez got me to click:

More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty                                           US police or global military fatalities, study finds

The American Journal of Medicine study had other gems as well:

“It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms,” said Dr. Charles Hennekens, the study’s senior author and an academic adviser at the medical college…

Of the deaths, 86% involved boys, the study found. Black children accounted for 41% of those killed, though in recent years they’ve comprised just 14% of the US population, US census data show

In the 5-to-14-year-old age group, accidents accounted for 12.8% of cases (830 deaths); suicide, 29.6% cases (1,912 deaths); assault, 54.8% cases (3,545 deaths); and undetermined, 2.7% (177 deaths), according to the study…

The United States led the world in 2016 in the rate of firearm deaths in youth among countries with available data. The rate in the US was 36.5 times higher than in a dozen comparable high-income countries around the world; the rate of firearm deaths was five times as high compared with a sampling of low- to middle-income countries.

Our test scores might be declining, but our gun deaths continue to edge upward.

 

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In China CAI Disrupts Schools. Displaced Human Interaction

December 1, 2019 Leave a comment

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China is ripe for disruption through CAI because of their test-based admissions to higher education, their many remote and overcrowded schools, and the desire of parents to help their children get into high paying jobs in the future. The question is, what kind of education are children getting when they have limited interaction with other children and teachers. An algorithmic based education designed to prepare students for a single test might be delivered more efficiently by a computer… but it is soulless and devoid of humanity.

A Short, Blunt Case Against Philanthropy

November 30, 2019 Comments off

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Axios offers a succinct explanation of how philanthropy is undemocratic. After reading this it is not hard to connect the dots between “charitable giving to charter schools” and profiteering billionaires.

Not ‘Free Stuff,’ But Public Goods: Ocasio-Cortez Denounces Neoliberal Talking Points on Publicly-Funded Education and Housing

November 30, 2019 Comments off

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez eloquently counters the neoliberal arguments against free college by noting that ANYTHING that is funded publicly is available to everyone. The argument that free college underwrites the children of billionaires is a preposterous as arguing that road construction benefits them more because they drive nicer cars. The debate she’s raising is what constitutes a public good; what is government’s responsibility to the public. When we can afford to pay for more public goods if we raised taxes on those who make billions the question is “Why aren’t we doing it?”

Source: Not ‘Free Stuff,’ But Public Goods: Ocasio-Cortez Denounces Neoliberal Talking Points on Publicly-Funded Education and Housing

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Scorecard Assumes Education’s Primary End is $$$$$

November 27, 2019 Comments off

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It comes as no surprise that Betsy DeVos’ USDOE sees earnings as the primary metric for determining the value of post secondary education. One possible way to change her perspective on this might be to emphasize that she is pursuing an Obama era initiative. For sure her boss would abandon it if he knew that was the case!

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