Daily Prompt: The New School “Old School New School”

My grandfather would lecture and talk for hours about days gone by.  About how some old things were better than the new things.  He always advised mixing the old with the new.  “You gotta’ mix the old with the new” he would say.  Now he was probably 3 sheets to wind at the time, but the advise is timeless.  So with that lofty advise I look back into history to find a system that did work.

It’s difficult or impossible to find successful mass education systems in our history. Ours truly is unique and the culmination of 1000s of years of asking this same question.  Let’s give ourselves some credit I think there are good ideas and goods start but nothing perfect.  I think the lack of good examples reflects the power and personal nature of knowledge and skill.

Knowledge is power.  And the powerful control the flow of knowledge.  It should be free and open to all, but books cost money, building are expense, massive computer server farms require huge amounts of energy.  Knowledge is not free.  The benevolent of the powerful have built infrastructure to support it’s free dissemination. Think about all the small towns in America that have libraries because of these folks. The malevolent of the powerful horde it or produce it for their own ends.  How does a democratic republic decide to educate it’s people to insure the malevolent force does not win the day?

The only truly successful model I know is the Master-Apprentice model.  It has produced successful people and civilizations for centuries.  The model is generally used only in the crafts or trades but others use the model by other names.  So simple. The master teaches the apprentice over the course of years.  The apprentice works and ventures away from the master as a Journeyman.  Later he is the master and transfers his knowledge and skill to a new apprentice.

This model may work in a mass education environment, but only with a radical change in our view of delivering knowledge.  The daily education would be handled by a large team of teachers distributed through out the city.  We would go back to one room schools but group into ages with no  more than a 3 year spread when they start.  A single teacher would educate no more than 12 students in small specially equipment buildings.  There would be many of these small buildings in a city.  These teachers would educate the students on all the basic areas of knowledge and transfer skills for living in a modern word.  Existing schools would be repurposed into specialized instruction centers.  Laboratories for writing, math, science, music, liberal arts.  They would keep there athletics and social functions and facilities.

In the near future, a driverless van will pick them at the one room school, and drop them off at their specialization center.  Then pick them and drop them back off at the school.  Private companies would maintain all the buildings and equipment for the teachers .  The buildings themselves will be highly connected centers of learning.  Video conferencing with other schools of a similar age group would occur daily.  Teachers would team up to produce materials and teach.  A social network would replace the current school board system.  It would allow and require parents to make selections and choices on mass curriculum.  And it would publicly place some accountability on the parents of bright poor performers who do not receive reinforcement at home.

The students and teacher would stay together from K through 12.  They would serve as the Master of Life Knowledge and Skill.  This would serve the purpose of the master-appretence relationship.  And helping a kid find their natural vocation would be much easier for a person that had worked with the student for years.

It would work differently than my vision.  But my grandfather was right.  Mix the old with the new and you can’t go wrong.  The Master-Apprentice model works.  It worked for Jesus and his disciples.  I think it could work for us.


Daily Prompt: Your a Winner – Blowing it on health, wealth and happiness for all.

1 billion dollars you say.  Well that’s easy.  First and easiest is building a trust for the family and future generations to insure everyone born into the family has the basics.  Shelter, food and eduction.  The last is my addition to the basic survival equation for modern times. Eduction seems to be the single biggest environmental factor that affects our development.  Much like a garden with rich soil, the fruits are always better when we as humans enrich our lives with knowledge and skills.

I think that will only chew up a few hundred million.  I’m not sure, but I would have a team of lawyers and accounts on it.  They would figure it out.  I manage large departments and small businesses, and the only thing I’ve always hated is crunching financial numbers.  I like seeing the product, but don’t like the work of getting there.  I have come to appreciate accounts, thankful there are people that like doing the work for me.

So what ever is left I’ll spend on something new and life changing for as many people as possible.  But what is it?  What technology or organization out there that could possibly change each and every life for the better.  The only idea with that kind of power would have to be in the realm of alternative energy, moreover, it’s in the shaky, sketchy world of free energy.  We just need a guy like me and my special team to start shedding some light into those rooms.  We live in a universe filled with energy.  Albert E. proved that when we wrote the energy content of a given quantity of mater is equal to it’s mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.  Fancy language for saying all matter has huge amounts of energy contained within it.  Essentially, rivers of energy that have turned in on themselves, and then they “done got all dog knotted up” into quarks, bosons and atoms.  We just need to find the special set of keys that will allow us to untie the knots in a more controled fashion.  Nuclear fission, a.k.a the bomb, releases all it’s energy at once.  And reactors pose radiation hazards for generation to come.  There must be another way.

My foundation would evaluate the best ideas and select the technologies with the most promise.  We’d staff it up and find some answers.  Unfortunately, a problem this complex really requires a billion dollars per month until my children’s grandchildren are great grand parents.  That’s about 110 years from now by my math.  So my drop in the bucket would not amount to much.  However, the foundation and the technologies and methods it developed would act as trim tab for the future of mankind.  Much like how Buckminster Fuller envisioned the long term affect of his work. He knew anything he wrote or invented would eventually fade in significance much like a plane traveling on a 5000 mile journey.  Very tiny adjustments by the pilots at the beginning will produce huge affects on the final location of the vessel.  Free energy is the only technology that would lift the entire planet just a little bit.  All boats lift in a rising river, someone just needs to open the flood gates.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Weekly Photo Challenge

The kids in the photo are obviously expressing the joy of the moment. Bright sun on an August afternoon with their parents sweating behind the camera trying to capture the moment. They may or may not be mine.

But that’s not the joy I’d like to point out. It’s the statue behind the kids. It’s titled “Man with Fish” by the artist Stephan Belkenhol. If you look, he is not smiling. His face is not expressing joy, but he’s hugging a fish. I find hugging people I love joyful. This guy must love fish. And the fish seems to love him. It’s spitting water from it’s mouth which must be how fish express joy.  They don’t have arms and hands to hugh with, you see.

The ideas of sacrifice, knowledge and teaching all come together to produce a human that can easily feed himself and his family. That is a joyful and lovely idea Mr. Balkenhol. It worked on us!