Platform Part V: Education, Science and Culture (Section B)

subtitle: Enough with the Boring Blog Post Titles, Eh?

Larry Kuznar’s post about the failings of higher education last week deserved a better title than we gave it. It was a brave and outstanding piece written by someone who knows how higher education works in the nation today. Larry’s post also opened the door to express more of our own perspectives.

Larry’s post was part of the series on a Platform for FAPITCA we “cleverly” called Building a Platform, Part I, in which we introduced an outline for five “Planks” that a more center-focused “political party” could use to inform how our nation moves away from fringe- and edge-driven politics. [1] Recent posts, while titled with boring but semi-descriptive phrases, are all part of this Platform; after today’s post, we’ll have only one plank left. [2]

Most importantly, we’re indebted to Larry for challenging us with his example to open up more and try to express our feelings about America with less equivocation. This means no longer blaming both sides of the political spectrum equally with softly uttered descriptions, although we will endeavor to maintain balance and represent the Center as an attractor to the disillusioned in the Edges. [3] America needs these people at the Edges to come back towards the Center, post-haste…please! [4] Students in Class - 2

First, here are a couple of thoughts about how Larry’s post fits into the Science, Culture and Education plank of the FAPITCA: America is greatest when we support the sciences (and the arts, hence culture). Education for our upcoming generations is the singular best way to build and strengthen our contributions to both our nation’s and the world’s science and arts. [5]

Each of the planks of the FAPITCA Platform is proposed as part of a whole. This whole benefits from linkages between the planks through rich interacting network connections that leverage the Connected Age in which we live. The planks can even compensate for each other when one is working less well than we might hope. [6]

As Larry noted, education and the resultant growth of science and culture (and arts) that ensues from education are deeply interacting pieces of the plank that deserve constant attention and investment to sustain our future as a nation. Education must evoke critical thinking and problem solving capabilities in order to grow America. They combine and even coevolve to provide the basis for our “national seed corn.”

It’s a mystery to us how our American system of education has not been more greatly valued and received more investment and encouragement. Instead, the various education factions line up against each other and rail about how the other side’s approach is so wrong. The various sides’ capacity, if it exists, to listen to each other and compromise with our nation’s interests in mind could surely produce a better working educational system if only they really wanted to and cared enough about America’s future.

It’s sad to note that too many in our political parties have forgotten whatever lessons they learned in school about compromise and collaboration. How much longer are the two parties and their supporting factions going to refuse to work together so we can stop eating our seed corn?

While both parties are at fault in the realm of agreement, the rise and influence of entities like the so-called “Tea Party” faction and its ilk have aggravated the failure of our national capacity to compromise and cooperate. These groups, even if well intended, must get down off their high-horses and start cooperating a bit more…with BOTH parties. They need to use the education they received in the American school system to help us move forward, not backwards! [7] Students in Class - 3

In the last few decades, America has been at the global forefront in scientific discovery and technological development (which leveraged those discoveries in science, by the way). We’ve also led in social and cultural activities that changed the world in many places and pushed forward the role of higher education across the nation and the world.

As Larry pointed out, education in America has experienced challenges to continuing that momentum of the past. We’ve lapsed in how many levels of education stack up with the rest of the world. But, this is America…we can fix that. If we don’t, science and culture will also lapse!

Student Flying on DiplomaOur biggest challenge is that we have to collectively rediscover the will to succeed as a nation…we have to want to fix education. We have to embrace the need to invest in our ability to do good science. Americans must desire to collaborate and exploit our science into even better technologies, cleaner environment, enhanced infrastructures and other improvements in our way of life. Most importantly, we have to feel the love in doing all of this for our children and their children. We think Americans really do want to do these things…so let’s do it.

Now, if we can only find better titles for our blog posts! We want to and we will!

Originally posted by Carl and Chuck Hunt, 7/16/2014.

NOTES:

[1] While we have been disparaging in our blog posts of the “Edge” and “Fringe” (the edge of the edge, as we like to label them) segments of American political parties throughout our posts, we do appreciate the paradox that they also apparently represent a source of real “out of the box” thinking about politics in this nation. In that regard, the Edges and Fringes might have a leg up on imagining new ways to govern and the rejection of the traps of excessive government and financial policy into which we’ve fallen as a nation through traditional politics. We strongly recommend the edges and fringes read Joseph Stiglitz’s recent book The Price of Inequality (or at least the essay of the same name at AlterNet) to better understand the effective role of government (as the Founders intended), rather than reject government outright.

[2] After this post and the final Plank post, we’ll finally post that essay on Transforming Consumption in America that expands on the second plank, again “cleverly” titled “Transform Production and Consumption.”

[3] So, some admissions: We are both moderately progressive, reformed semi-conservative types…sorry we can’t make a meaningful acronym out of that; perhaps we were really “radical moderates” as Elliot Richardson coined it in a book of the same name). One friend called Carl “socially progressive and fiscally conservative”…maybe that also works! The bottom line is that we’re not particularly happy with where the Edges of the Republican Party have taken our nation in the last decade or two, making issues of inane subjects that really should not affect how our nation moves forward in Fulfilling the American Promise in the Connected Age. This is not to say that the Democratic Party is above the fray in promoting irrelevancy as well, but the Republican Party has not done well by America, perhaps even for the last 20 years. If only we could say the Democratic Party had done all that much better! As Adelson, Buffet and Gates wrote recently in Break the Immigration Impasse, “Americans deserve better than this” and “It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.”

[4] The bottom line here is that the Edges and Fringes (and apparently even the larger parties with which they are associated) could likely never come together sufficiently to champion opportunity for all Americans. At the rate we seem to be going, they probably could never be large enough to be a source of real change that enables maximum equal access to opportunity for all. Only the Center can act with enough mass and momentum to bring about that kind of change. A balanced Center that understands the importance of equal access to opportunity, and enforces it with their vote, will make the kind of difference America so desperately needs now.

[5] To ensure we can sustain such growth, we also commented on the need for protecting our environment and infrastructure…that one plank is tied to the success of all of the rest.

[6] The interacting principles of FAPITCA can also be viewed as a complex system that creates maximum resiliency and opportunity if used to inspire new thinking about governance in America.

[7] See footnote 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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