David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.
Too many of the blog articles and political ads that we read fail to cite the sources for their information. FiveThirtyEight not only describes their sources, but in this case they have provided a link to the source dataset that they used for the analysis. They encourage us to look at data that describes the Democratic primaries, and draw our own conclusions.
The researcher, Meredith Conroy, wanted to answer two questions.
Are democrats shifting to the left?
Is a more diverse cohort going to lead to more Democrat winners?
They only considered new candidates, seeking to avoid the messy influences of incumbency. Among other things, they found that women won 65% of the races that included at least one man and one woman. Male candidates won only 23% of those races.
In fact, all else being equal, being a woman has been worth an additional 10 percentage points over being a man in the open Democratic primaries (they) looked at.
Women candidates also tended to have more experience as elected officials than their male opponents. Such are the complexities of the political game. Conroy also wrote that said that what was important about the increased number of women running for office, win or lose, it will serve to encourage more women to run in future races.
The candidates’ Ideologies were measured by who endorsed them. Those endorsed by the Democratic party establishment did the best, by far. This contradicts the notion that Democratic voters are shifting far to the left.
That said, it is worth noting that candidates endorsed by more left-leaning organizations did not do poorly. This included “Our Revolution” (associated with Bernie Sanders) and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
This Media Bias Chart is maintained by Vanessa Otero at mediabiaschart.com
A friend of mine just questioned me on Facebook, “(With) the increase in access to media/information … are people more adept at separating fact from fiction or are they more willing to let others make that decision for them?”
I quickly made a snide reference to recent elector events as evidence, but continued by blaming education. There is so much about the ways that teachers must teach that actually discourages students from critically questioning the information that they encounter. We (educators) teach them to learn and believe what it is that we teach and not to question what they have learned. Teachers are forced into this mode of instruction because schools have become a one-right-answer world. It is because of high-stakes testing and teachers are responsible for their students knowing those one-right-answers.
But what if critical evaluation of the information we encounter really was a core part of what we teach. Here are some ways that teachers might encourage their students to develop critical habits.
Research the author(s) of your textbook and start the year introducing students to what you’ve learned. Explain how the author’s background gives them the authority to write such a textbook.
Tell students that not everything in the textbook is true. Explain that part of their job this year is to find its inaccuracies and support their finds.
Use as much content from the Internet as you can. As you present the content, explain the process you used to finding it and the criteria you used to validate the information.
When discussing students’ work or their answers to questions, get in the habit of asking, “How do you know that’s true?” Encourage students to have supporting evidence for their answers and the ideas that they share.
Encourage students to ask you, “How do you know that’s true Mr. ######?” Be ready to answer with supporting evidence. If you don’t have the supporting evidence, ask you’re students to give you a day to research it.
When you get it wrong, apologize and describe to you students what you learned in the process of getting it wrong. Make use of all wrong answers.
Talk about your own interests and the research that you conduct to learn more about your interest. Practice contemporary literacy in front of your students
When you encounter false information or a manipulative message, bring it into your classroom and provide the evidence that proves that it is incorrect. Ask students what they think someone might have to gain by spreading false or misleading messages.
Tell your students that the world as we know is,
Is not the same world the we knew.
What more, it’s not the same world that we will know.
They (your students) are going to be the explorers and discoverers of that world.
My wife and I visited the Kings Mountain Battlefield last Sunday. It’s a 1.8 mile walk around and up over the mountain, reading plaques and imagining the smoke-filled scene of 1780. It was fought between colonists who were loyal to the crown (who wore slips of white paper in their hats) and independence seeking patriots (who wore bunches of pine needles in their hats).
The hated commander of the Loyalist forces was Col Patrick Ferguson. I’ve researched Ferguson recently and found him to be quite an interesting character. He was a Scot and was raised in Edinburgh, where his family associated with some of the the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment. Indications are that he was sympathetic to the American patriot cause.
Acknowledged as the best marksman in the British Army, Ferguson spent time, while convulsing from wounds suffered in the West Indies, designing and fabricating a breech loading rifle. With it, he was able to fire 15 accurate shots in one minute, a HUGE improvement over the muzzle-loading Brown Bess muskets used by the British Army. Because of the expense of mass producing Ferguson Rifles, they were only used by a special unit that Ferguson established early in the American Revolutionary War. He admired the style of Indian warfare practiced by many of the patriot soldiers, and had his soldier wear (somewhat) camouflaged uniforms and practice guerrilla style fighting. Wounded again, he lost his unit to other officers, who had ridiculed his tactics as less than “honorable.”
Returning to service he was assigned to raise a loyalist militia to assist Gen Cornwallis’ Southern Campaign. It was the militia that he raised that was defeated on Kings Mountain, where he was killed and his body mutilated. His blunder was sending a letter to the Overmountain Men, threatening retribution against their families if they marched east to fight the British. The Overmountain Men came. They were rough frontiersmen from the Appalachian mountains and beyond, accustomed to eking a living from the wilderness.
The Battle of Kings Mountain was preceded by the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, which resulted in a similar outcome. My interest in these events comes partly from the fact that my ancestral patriarch of the 18th century had children who served on both sides of that war.
I’m sitting on the shuttle bus now, only a few blocks from the Courtyard where my wife and I are staying. The chatter is wild and expressive as is the buzz of energy that this event sparks. Boarding are educators from across the country and around they world. They’re all here to learn and to be energized. The buzz of anticipated energizing will grow to a roar by the end of the conference on Wednesday. Im only here for a couple of hours, hoping not to be confronted by officials checking for badges. Hopefully my deaf-mute act will release me. My plan is to hang out at the Blogger Cafe, a comfortable corner for bloggers to sit and compose or just geek out with each.
My reason for coming, other than visiting one of my wife’s favorite cities was to attend the ISTE Leadership Luncheon. There, I had the honor and privaledge of sitting with Chris Lehmann. To learn more about this weirdly energetic education innovator, read my upcoming book. The bus is arriving, so I’ll write more later. im in and it’s a sea of people, all educators, moving in currents with no apparent purpose, but certainly directed toward opportunities to learn. They’re educators who are not satisfied with business-as-usual. They are comfortable with discomfort. They see technological, social, economic and cultural chang, not as a challenge to be feared and ignored, but as emerging opportunities to better prepair their students for their future — to own their future. More later…
It‘s about an hour-and-a-half later. One of my best buddies, Kathy Schrock came over and we shared stories from years past and about our children who are around the same age. If you buy my upcoming book, you’ll learn much about Kathy. Steve Dembo also came over. He was the first educator podcaster that I knew, and a dynamo presenter. Steve is also a drone enthusiast.
The flow of educators has not eased, even though presentations have begun. Around me, people are standing and sitting talking and learning. In many ways, the best learning at these conferences happen between sessions, in the hall, in conversations with educators from different states or nations.
Much can be said about education today that is not good. Most of our children are being schooled, but they are not being prepared for a rapidly changing future. It’s the people in this conference center who are trying to change education, and they’re doing it with brilliance, dedication, perseverance, and with enthusiasm. They are my tribe.
Now that I’m in the quiet of the Chicago airport, on my way back to North Carolina, I want to share my concern for education in the U.S. The people who are attending ISTE, those I know and most of those I do not know are there for the sake of the future. Their eye is on the future. Part of it is the glamour of education technology — all the shinnies. But most of their presence and energy comes from a mutually held belief that by empowering student learning with information technology we are going to accomplish peaceful and prosperous in our future. It will happen because we have become more tolerant, more compassionate, more inviting of different cultures for the sake of how they change us, and more willing to adapt our economic system to build a more inclusive society. We will predict and then learn that a country without poor people is a much better place to live.
Its hard to imagine such an America today, because the US is led by a man who continues to run for president, setting policies based on what got the biggest crowds during his campaign rallies. He addresses issues on the most simplistic levels ignoring the nuanced complexities of a country with 326 million people, 263 million of who didn’t vote for him. He thrives on chaos and shuns the serious informed thoughtfulness that is necessary for leadership in this potentially wondrous time when almost anything is possible. He is a bully and he’s a fake.
..and I hold education responsible. I do not blame individual teachers and principals, except in as much as we have allowed public education to be corrupted into a standardized and mechanized institution for preparing future workers. Instead, our job is to help our children learn as much as possible about their world and learn to
Recognize the irrational
Learn as a lifestyle
Become information artisans
Respect each other, and
Find their personal intersect between play, passion and purpose.
If you think that America’s future energy should be burning coal and other fossil fuels, then you should be happy with Trump. According to a Bloomberg report, the Trump administration plans to use two Federal laws “to order (electrical) grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life…”
Further reversing our country’s progress, Reuters has learned that Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels is forcing renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of $2.5+ billion in large installation projects. According to developers, it also cancels thousands of jobs.
All of this while Britain regularly announces increasing numbers of hours and days that their entire grid is powered without coal. The BBC reported on April 24 that the nation had gone three days without coal – the first time since the 1880s.
Kneel and pray on the field and lose your visit to the White House, at least according to FoxNews. The Trump-leaning news service tweeted this picture yesterday, implying that the decision to dis-invite this year’s Super Bowl winners from the White House was because team members had knelt during the Star Spangled Banner. Seems that they couldn’t find any pictures of Eagle players taking a knee in protest (since none of them did so during the entire regular season). So they included one of Zach Ertz kneeling for a quiet moment before an NFL football game in order to corrupt the story to their liking.
When challenged, FoxNews removed the tweet and apologized.
Here is something from my seemingly endless preparation of The Quiet Revolution. It’s a story that I often related to audiences to illustrate the changing nature of the information that we are using today and our need to redefine literacy.
There was a study conducted by the University of California at Berkley called “How Much Information.” They discovered that the world generated five exabytes of information in 2002.
You are probably thinking,
“If I knew what an exabyte was, I’m supposed I would be impressed.”
To clarify, if we added five exabytes of information to the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, it would require the building of 37,000 more Libraries of Congress to hold that year’s additional information. The kicker, however, is that only one one-hundredths of one percent (00.01%) of that information ever got printed. All the rest of the new information was digital, existing as 1s and 0s and residing on the memory cells of magnetic tape, disks, optical discs and integrated circuits; and requiring digital technology and technology skills to access and use that information. If more and more of our information is digital and networked, then we can take the paper out of our future workplace.
This also begs the question, “Why are we continuing to spend so much time continuing to teach our children how to use paper when we need to be teaching them how to use light – to use digital information?”
I’ve just started reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. Every page teaches me something extraordinary. For instance, for 97% of the time that Homo (humans) have been walking upright, there were several species of human living simultaneously. Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo denisova, to mention only a few. It’s only recently, in evolutionary time, that Homo sapiens has emerged as the sole species of human to inhabit the earth.
I just scanned the Amazon description for Harari’s next book, “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” and these sentences jumped out:
“Famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time in history, more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists, and criminals combined. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.”
It makes me wonder how we’ve accomplished so much to make our world more civil, and, apparently, so little to to civilize ourselves. Are we worthy of our accomplishments?
3D Rendering captured with a camera mounted rod and assistive music
I went to the dentist yesterday, for a crown. I am now using CornerStone Dental Associates in Shelby, NC. Having used a dentist in the sophisticated city of Raleigh for years, I was not expecting much in this small city. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I was overwhelmed.
Months ago, they identified a tooth with an abscess, which was no surprise to me. Cornerstone sent me to a dentist in Gastonia for a root canal, since I needed it done right away and they did not have an immediate opening. I’d had a root canal and crown done in 1973 – an excruciating experience. However, the procedure went well in Gastonia with very little pain, even though the dentist said it was an especially difficult one.
The cool part was the crown. My dentist first ground the tooth down. Not fun, but she let me listen to my music. With that done, she started the process of creating the crown with a rod that had a tiny camera on the end. Moving it around, she captured images of the tooth from every angle. To help, a nearby computer played music in a major key. If the camera was not getting a clear image for any reason, the tune changed to a minor key. The computer was assisting her with music. That blew me away.
Once they got the pictures, the computer created a three dimensional render of that tooth (nub), and the surrounding teeth (See picture). The 3D rendered file was sent to a 3D milling machine, that carved my new crown out of a cube of composite resin.
There’s been a question, trying to form in the back of my head, like an itch I can’t reach, concerning our investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. elections. I do worry about Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign power and the corruption it would imply – though corruption seems to be the way of things in our capitals these days.
I found that itch yesterday, as I was talking about it with my wife — and here it is.
What’s the difference between Russia’s efforts to sew distrust in our government with social media and our efforts to sew distrust in the Soviet/Russian government during the Cold War with Voice of America broadcasts?
There is an important difference, I believe. VOA sought to “win the attention and respect of listeners” behind the Iron Curtain by offering a “consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” (Words from the VOA Charter of 1959.)
We wanted to help intelligent people in the USSR, to recognize true news and reject the Soviet propaganda.
Russia, on the other hand, wants to appeal to unintelligent Americans’ willingness to believe sensationalist propaganda and reject true news.
That’s the difference!
Perhaps, rather than investigating Russian meddling, we should be investigating education policy that wants students to memorize the right answers to questions, instead of teaching them the discipline of asking questions and the wisdom to question the answers.