Collaboration

Who can change policy?

Who can change policy?

College work is in full swing.

(hilarious as I’m turning 34… am I smart or stupid? Will my wife still love me when it’s over?)

As I re-engage my creative mind within the collegiate terra firma of mental fertility, there is one glaring detail that lingers on the horizon as I simultaneously beseech myself to stay abreast of the national epidemic of political gridlock:

There is no shortage of interesting ideas!

Seriously… I hear good ideas everyday. Very few of them should be implemented with 100% faith and ubiquity, but they should be attempted nonetheless.

The Chicago teachers’ strike is a very good example of the final compromise that could have been entertained months ago while the details of the “initial” teacher assessment model could have been fine-tuned through the collaboration of the union AND the mayor’s office. If one employs the “golden axiom of social intelligence” [We are smarter than I] a successful strategy would reveal itself with minimal energy:

  1. Collaboratively discuss theoretical model that may prove accurate.
  2. Make predictions.
  3. Strategize implementation to answer the questions of BOTH parties (the union AND the administration).
  4. Implement for a provisional year.
  5. Employ third party expertise to THOROUGHLY analyze results.
  6. Present results to both parties and meet collaboratively to discuss & critique. Compare with predictions.
  7. Renegotiate steps 1, 2, & 3 before implementing within policy.

Mutual respect and mutual goals should be the new paradigm for local, state, and federal policy. When we acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers, we can finally have the open mind to attempt collaborative solutions.

A closing note: one interesting consequence of collaboration is the revelation of selfish spearheads of personal belief. Ardent figureheads of unyielding ideas are of more danger to our communal benefit than those who are willing to compromise. If democracy is a sacred idea, we must reduce the power of metaphoric monarchs. The union president doesn’t always support EACH of its members and the superintendent’s policy is RARELY a result of administrative consensus.

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A Modern Education

A Modern Education

There are a litany of modern skills that are passing directly over the heads of our current public schools.

If you’re reading this, you’re already using one mode of modern communication that is definitely used in modern classrooms, yet the mechanism of its use is rarely touched upon. The modern teacher often struggles with educating students on plagiarism and proper citations of wikipedia, but they would be highly unusual if they displayed the knowledge of using hyperlinks, blogging software, and search engine optimization. My ability to post my thoughts on this webpage is a product of modern technology and software of which few of my friends are even literate. Yet the basics of digital communication are being taught in first grade schools in such countries as India, China, South Korea, and even ESTONIA. But why not the United States?

Here, innovation is a significant piece of the economic puzzle but it is also necessary for us to advance the goals of education considering that the world’s technological changes are happening so quickly while our American schools’ curricula have been at a near standstill for 120 years. Globalization is requiring aggregate research, a larger pool of statistics, adaptive communication, fluency in data interpretation, and a modern concept of the word “social.” Yet most teachers would scoff at this skill set, demanding that students receive a traditional “encompassing” view of segmented subjects such as English and American literary classics, American history, mathematics, science, physical education, and a foreign language. They will rarely connect the literature with history, mathematics with science, and technology is utterly absent. Physical education glosses over nutrition and anatomy, and emotional health is a laugh among most gym teachers. And let’s not even get started on foreign languages and the kind of pseudo-patriotism in this country. Nor will I even attempt to opine over the legislation of Creationism in today’s biology classes. Euthanasia will surely follow.

Under the “globalization” foundation of our future, I will expound upon one single word that is evolving so rapidly that most academics are struggling to keep pace with both the definition of it, as well as the technology of it. This word is “SOCIAL.”

Social sciences have rarely been treated as “science.” If it were, the typical quotes such as, “the winner writes the history books” wouldn’t exist. Qualitative interpretations of historical texts and census data usually usurp the type of cause & effect logic that governs quantitative analysis. But in the last 20 years our scientists have begun to demonstrate that social behavior is consistent with neurology, that emotional response hinders neurological function, and that rapport is chemical!

Despite these sociological breakthroughs, the word “Social” is also a new underpinning of the most expansive communication platform on the planet, the internet. We are using “social media” and “social networking” in ways that most of the world could have never dreamed… in business, in journalism, in education, and even acdemics.

I started The MUNIVERSITY with the goal of teaching the modern ideas of “Social Intelligence,” starting from the students’ understanding of interpersonal skills, and then expanding their personal sphere of networking & influence and extending their mastered sense of personal communication into the technological sphere of the internet.

If you’d like to stay connected to The MUNIVERSITY and use some of our resources for your own benefit or use, sign up for our free newsletter and our forum!

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