Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Regular readers of this blog will find most of the ideas familiar. Indeed, it is a revision of an earlier post but hopefully it's better thought-through and presented. And this is video; the previous version was audio.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Capitalism results in too great a gap between a small wealthy class and a large and ever growing poor. Also, capitalism thrives on ever growing materialism, which promotes shallow values and environmental degradation.
Socialism doesn't work because it rewards the lazy and incompetent while punishing the hard-working and capable.
Of course, many countries use a hybrid of the two but I believe there's a need for a new approach. Here's my proposal for one. I call it simplism. It requires educating the public about three things:
1. the wisdom of our buying personal services rather than non-essential products. Our lives benefit more from such services as a tutor for our kids, assistant for ourselves, or a companion for our elders than from buying jewelry, new cars every few years, expensive vacations, big houses, etc.
3. the importance of learning to be an entrepreneur, to run your own business. That:
- avoids your needing to be a wage slave, paid as little as the employer can get away with.
- provides greater job security than if employed by others.
- brings to the public better, faster, or less expensive products and services, thereby improving all of our lives.
- creates new jobs.
I welcome your reactions.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The six points, without the helpful explanation in the video, are listed below.
My six-point plan for reinventing K-12 education:
1. Naturally gifted teachers could get a teaching license merely by teaching a demo lesson before a master teacher---no boring teaching education program required. Other candidates would complete a teacher training program provided by a school district's master teachers, not by university professors who have never been master K-12 teachers.
2. Classes should be grouped by ability. Efforts should be made to ensure that racism is not a factor in selection, and that students are moved up and down as appropriate.
3. The fact-larded curriculum should be delarded, replaced with big projects--for example, developing a model city, building a rocket, creating an online student newspaper, etc.
4. The teacher's unions must be reined in. They've insisted that the best and worst teachers are paid the same--there's no better formula for ensuring that quality people don't enter the profession. In addition, they have forced school districts to, after just two or three years, give teachers tenure for life. To get rid of a teacher after getting tenure requires a long, expensive, painful undue process. Most principals decide it's just not worth the massive documentation and a dog fight with the union lawyers.
5. Use dream-team-taught courses, especially for difficult-to-teach courses such as algebra. These would be developed by a team of nation's best instructors under the U.S. Office of Education's auspices and distributed free on the Net to all school districts. A local teaching assistant would be in the actual classroom to provide the human touch. Using dream-team-taught classes would enable all students, rich and poor, to receive world-class instruction. Nothing would more improve the quality of education, but again, the unions would balk.
6. The school year should be lengthened. Currently it consists only of five hours a day for 175 days.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
For those who'd rather just read the transcript of the video, it appears below.
by Marty Nemko
(transcript of the above video)
In this video, I present my proposal for how to reinvent higher education. From Time to the New York Times, higher education is finally being called to task for its ever worsening value added. Students and families spend fortunes and so many don't graduate. A major study out of the University of Chicago, Academically Adrift, found that almost half of those who graduate grow so little in writing, reading, critical thinking and so on. So many of those students are able to only find a job they could have gotten without college. But these criticisms of higher ed ar e usually accompanied by only the vaguest or palliative of suggestions for improvement. Here, I present a six-point plan for higher education's reinvention:
1. Colleges should be required to post a Report Card on itself. If each car tire is required to mold its treadline, temperature, and traction rates into its sidewall, should not colleges, one of our largest and most important purchases be required to post their graduation rates and learning growth amounts, broken down by student high school record? Shouldn't colleges be required to report the percentage of graduates within each major who are professionallly employed within a year of graduation? A substantive college report card prominent posted would enable students, counselors and families not only to pick the right college but to decide, if for that student, a wiser path might be a community college, an apprenticeship, a military, or on-the-job training, for example, learning how to run your own business at the elbow of a successful and ethical entrepreneur. After all, according to the U.S. Dept of Education, of the 200,000 students that so-called four year colleges admit each year, fewer than 1 in four graduate even if given 8 1/2 years. And of those who graduate, most do so with a very low GPA in a major unlikely to excite many employers, for example, sociology, physical education, or art rather than computer science, accounting, or engineering. A College Report Card is the least we can do--ensure informed consent for the consumer.
2. There should be two categories of professors: teaching professors and research professors. Universities find it more economical to have their professors do both, but the skills and interests required to teach the typical undergraduate are orthogonal to, the opposite of what's required to do publishable research. Teaching faculty should be selected and promoted on how well they can be transformative, inspirational instructors of undergraduates , not how well they can write a research proposal on the arcana that gets funded, of interest mainly to a few dozen other theoretically oriented PhDs.
3. All existing teaching faculty should be required to successfully complete a teaching bootcamp, consisting in part of master instructors videoing each participant teaching and providing individualized feedback. Any teaching faculty member who subsequently has a year of average student evaluations below a 4 on a 5 point scale should be required to successfully complete a remedial teaching bootcamp.
4 General education courses are the 10 to 15 courses that most colleges require to help ensure a well-rounded education, but which most students view as "courses to get out of the way." While it's true that life should be informed by the wisdom embeddeed in typical general educartion courses such as philosophy and literature, in fact, most young people simply cannot be convinced of that, so poor attendance, cheating, inattention, and minimal learning is more the norm than the exception. Rather than going through the motions, realism dictates that we revise the general education curriculum to focus more on issues of more immediate concern to the vast majority of undergraduates: public speaking, financial literacy, practical problem solving, entrepreneurship, practical ethics, interpersonal communication, career-finding and job-landing, etc.
5. Use Dream-Team-Taught courses. Especially for widely taught and difficult courses such as calculus and organic chemstry, the U.S. Dept of Education should fund development of highly-interactive, immersive courses team-taught on video, disseminated online by a dream team of the nation's finest instructors. The courses would be made available free to all colleges. This would save the colleges money, enabling them, hopefully, to lower tuition, and more important would ensure that all students from the most poorly funded college to Harvard would receive world-class instructor. A university could elect to provide a professor or teaching assistant on site to provide the personal touch or allow students to complete the dream-team-taught courses at home, thereby saving the need for classroom buildings and/or allowing colleges to serve more students with minimal additional expense.
6. the notion of the traditional country-club-like campus is obsolte. Not only does it contribute to enormous cost, it is to the green values espoused on most universities. I believe that most campuses could be shrunk by 80% with little or no loss in quality of experience, perhaps even a gain. In addition to the aforementioned dream-team-taught courses, which students could complete at home, in-person classes could be taught in professors' homes that sit vacant while professors trek to campus, try to find parking spots on campus, etc. Instead of building expensive swimming pools, big, expensive shrub-filled campuses, utlize pools at with local community centers, hotels, and so on. Campuses could be quite compact, consisting of just a streamlined administration building to accommodate a streamlined administration, a student activities building for student club meetings, concerts, and so on, and a reduced number of classroom buildings.
To summarize, the six points in my plan to reinvent higher education are: 1. Require all colleges to prominently post a College Report Card. 2. Have separate faculty for teaching and for research. 3. Require all faculty to successfully complete a teaching bootcamp. 4. Revise general education courses to reflect the content that most undergraduates are open to learning. 5. Use Dream-team-taught courses: Courses taught on interactive video, disseminated online by a dream-team of the nation's finest instructors, with an in-person teaching assistant locally to provide the human touch. 5. Streamline the enormously costly country-club campuses, which would enable colleges to cut student costs of attending dramatically. That's my reinvention of higher education. Thanks for watching. I'm Marty Nemko.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Born in 1936, I've lived through some of our openly racist history, which has included racist insults, beatings and lynchings. Tuskegee Institute records show that between the years 1880 and 1951, 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites were lynched. I recall my cousin's and my being chased out of Fishtown and Grays Ferry, two predominantly Irish Philadelphia neighborhoods, in the 1940s, not stopping until we reached a predominantly black North or South Philly neighborhood.
Today all that has changed. Most racist assaults are committed by blacks. What's worse is there're blacks, still alive, who lived through the times of lynching, Jim Crow laws and open racism who remain silent in the face of it.
Last year, four black Skidmore College students yelled racial slurs while they beat up a white man because he was dining with a black man. Skidmore College's first response was to offer counseling to one of the black students charged with the crime. In 2009, a black Columbia University professor assaulted a white woman during a heated argument about race relations. According to interviews and court records obtained and reported by Denver's ABC affiliate (12/4/2009), black gangs roamed downtown Denver verbally venting their hatred for white victims before assaulting and robbing them during a four-month crime wave. Earlier this year, four black girls beat a white girl at a McDonald's, and the victim suffered a seizure. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered an emergency shutdown of the beaches in Chicago because mobs of blacks were terrorizing families. According to the NBC affiliate there (6/8/2011), a gang of black teens stormed a city bus, attacked white victims and ran off with their belongings.
Racist black attacks are not only against whites but also against Asians. In San Francisco, five blacks beat an 83-year-old Chinese man to death. They threw a 57-year-old woman off a train platform. Two black Oakland teenagers assaulted a 59-year-old Chinese man; the punching knocked him to the ground, killing him. At Philly's South Philadelphia High School, Asian students report that black students routinely pelt them with food and beat, punch and kick them in school hallways and bathrooms as they hurl racial epithets such as "Hey, Chinese!" and "Yo, Dragon Ball!" The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund charged the School District of Philadelphia with "deliberate indifference" toward black victimization of Asian students.
In many of these brutal attacks, the news media make no mention of the race of the perpetrators. If it were white racist gangs randomly attacking blacks, the mainstream media would have no hesitation reporting the race of the perps. Editors for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune admitted to deliberately censoring information about black crime for political reasons. Chicago Tribune Editor Gerould Kern recently said that the paper's reason for censorship was to "guard against subjecting an entire group of people to suspicion."
These racist attacks can, at least in part, be attributed to the black elite, who have a vested interest in racial paranoia. And that includes a president who has spent years aligned with people who have promoted racial grievance and polarization and appointed an attorney general who's accused us of being "a nation of cowards" on matters of race and has refused to prosecute black thugs who gathered at a Philadelphia voting site in blatant violation of federal voter intimidation laws. Tragically, black youngsters – who are seething with resentments, refusing to accept educational and other opportunities unknown to blacks yesteryear – will turn out to be the larger victims in the long run.
Black silence in the face of black racism has to be one of the biggest betrayals of the civil rights struggle that included black and white Americans.
Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
by Marty Nemko
(transcript of the video above)
I'm Marty Nemko and this is the first of my reinventions. I want to reinvent our approach to climate change from one of nearly religious zeal to one of dispassionate agnosticism. Here's why.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Bolder approaches to job creation, health care, education, religion, our election system, our economic system, psychotherapy, the gender wars, climate change, the gene pool, the meaning of life, and 30 other pillars of society.
a book proposal
by Marty Nemko
Many Americans believe the U.S. is in permanent decline. A just-released finds that 39 percent of respondents believe “the current economic downturn is part of a long-term permanent decline.” That on the top of a June, 2011 that found that 48 percent of Americans believe another Great Depression is very or somewhat likely.
And Americans aren't confident that the proposed solutions will help much. A just-released Time poll finds that 62 percent of Americans think the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction. Perhaps that's not surprising in light of the failure of the most recent round of remedies: Despite massive corporate bailouts, government stimulus spending, and two rounds of quantitative easing (QE1 and QE2) the un- and underemployment rate is higher than before. And education, the supposed magic pill, has turned out to be less than magical. For decades now, the U.S. has ranked #1 or 2 in per-capita education spending yet continues to lag in the most recent international comparison, tied for 23rd with Poland, while Shanghai, China, which entered the comparisons this year for the first time and spends far less than the U.S. per capita on education, ranked #1.
Such solutions are inadequate in part, ironically, because of our democratic process. Policies are adopted only after a diverse array of experts, the public, legislators, and political leaders have all embraced it. While that ensures broad buy-in, it tends to create tepid recommendations--that on which nearly everyone can agree, often a lowest common denominator.
There is need for bolder solutions. Unfettered by having to obtain consensus, in the proposed Work, I propose a bolder solution for each of 40 keys to the thriving society. Perhaps like many authors, my goal is no less than to trigger a national conversation that examines--forgive the cliche--out-of-the-box approaches to stemming what appears to be America's permanent decline, especially versus China and India.
These blog posts provide a sense of my writing style and the content I'll present in the book:
A Blueprint for Permanently Creating U.S. Jobs: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/04/blueprint-for-permanently-solving-us.html
Elections Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/02/reinvented-election-system.html.
The College Report Card: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/11/college-report-card-key-to-higher-ed.html
Religion Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2008/08/spiritual-atheism.htmlDo What You Love and Starve? http://www.martynemko.com/articles/do-what-you-love-and-starve_id1380
Education Reinvented: http://www.martynemko.com/articles/blueprint-for-reinventing-education_id1595
Higher Education Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/06/reinventions-undergraduate-education.html
Simplism: A new alternative to capitalism and socialism: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/06/simplism-new-alternative-to-capitalism.html
Are We So Sure Democracy is the Best Policy? http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/02/are-we-so-sure-democracy-is-best-way.html
New Israel: A solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-israel-solution-to-palestinian.html
Family is Overrated: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2008/09/family-is-overrated.html
Taxation Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-id-reinvent-taxation.html
My Plan for Closing the Achievement Gap: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-plan-to-close-achievement-gap.html
The One-Week Job Search: http://www.martynemko.com/articles/one-week-job-search_id1374
A Better Way to Gain Willpower: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2009/02/top-10-ways-to-gain-willpower.html
General Education Reinvented: http://www.martynemko.com/articles/generaledorg-reinvented-online-general-education-program_id1597
Career Counseling Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/07/career-counseling-reinvented.html
In Defense of Men: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/06/beginning-of-men.html
The Meaning of Life Reinvented: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/05/toward-life-well-led-meter.html
My Top Ten Ways to Improve the World:
Other Reinventions to be included in the book:
A proposal for safer, less expensive nuclear energy.
The case for and plan for transforming our product-based to a service-based economy.
A better alternative to mass transit: the shared-ownership auto-piloted hydrogen/solar-powered sky car.
Next-generation desalinization as the solution to our water problems.
Social networking reinvented--toward building real connection.
Genetically enhancing human potential...ethically.
Ending the gender wars ...to both sexes' advantage
5 to 10 more, to be determined.
Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. specializing in the evaluation of innovative programs from the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently taught in Berkeley's graduate school. He has been a consultant to Consumer Reports, 15 college presidents, and dozens of top for- and nonprofit executives. His previous five books have sold 250,000 copies.
He's in his 24th year as host of a weekly hour-long show on KALW-FM (NPR-San Francisco.) He has been a repeat guest on such major shows as Talk of the Nation and The Today Show. He's written for and been quoted in publications ranging from Time to the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times. His blog and site attract a half million visitors a year. Toastmasters International names one non-member its Northern California Speaker of the Year. Marty Nemko was a recent winner.
With Nemko's ability as a speaker (see above) a media tour and live speaking tour, for example, on college campuses would seem to be cost-effective. The tour might be made additionally effective by the discussions of the Reinventions be debates with local public intellectuals, for example, the president of the colleges at which I'd be speaking.
Timed to occur during the weeks preceding the 2012 presidential election, Nemko will disseminate as above, a special video; My Nine Worries and Their Solutions: The Stump Speech I'd Give if I Were Running for President: http://www.martynemko.com/articles/my-nine-worries-stump-speech-id-give-if-i-were-running-for-president_id1603
He will conduct press conferences on a few of the most newsworthy reinventions:
A bolder plan to create jobs
A bolder plan for reinventing health care
A bolder plan for reinventing education.
A series of contests would be held in which the public is challenged to come up with a better reinvention of, for example, education. Prizes could simply be books from the publisher's catalog. Worst case, the contests would be publicized only on Nemko's radio show, blog, etc, but an attempt would be made to get a major media outlet (e.g., Economist.com, USNews.com, where Nemko is Contributing Editor, etc, to co-sponsor the contests and host them on their site.