Test post please ignore

We’ve spent 130 years indoctrinating kids with the same structure. Now, as some of us enter a post-lockdown world, I’d like to propose a useful (though some might say radical) way to reimagine the curriculum:

It’s been a century of biology, chemistry, arithmetic, social studies and the rest. So long that the foundational building blocks are seen as a given, unquestioned and unimproved. The very structure of the curriculum actually prevents school from working as it should.

Some points

I think that a significant shift is overdue. The one below could work for kids from the age of 6. It doesn’t eliminate the fundamentals of being educated, but it puts them into context. More important, because it’s self-directed and project-based, kids can choose to learn, instead of being forced to.

We’re living in the age of an always-connected universal encyclopedia and instantly updated fact and teaching machine called the Net. This means that it’s more important to want to know the answer and to know how to look it up than it is to have memorized it when we were seven. Given the choice between wasting time and learning, too many people have been brainwashed into thinking that learning is somehow onerous or taxing.

Introducing the modern curriculum

The basic foundation is student-centered, self-directed projects. In service of learning to solve interesting problems and how to lead as well as follow. And to support that, the “courses” are practical tools students can use on their projects.

Statistics–seeing the world around us clearly and understanding nuance, analog results and taxometrics (learning how to sort like with like). Realizing that everyone and everything doesn’t fit into a simple box. Learning to see the danger of false labels and propaganda, and the power of seeing how things are actually distributed.

Games–finite and infinite, poker, algorithms, business structures, interpersonal relationships, negotiation, why they work and when they don’t. We all play them, even when they’re not called games.

Communication–listening and speaking, reading and writing, presentations, critical examination and empathy. Can you read for content? Can you write to be understood? Can you stand up and express yourself, and sit still and listen to someone else who is working to be heard? What happens when we realize that no one is exactly like us?

History and propaganda–what happened and how we talk about it. More why than when. The fundamental currents of human events over time.

Citizenship–Participating, leading, asking and answering good questions. As a voter, but also as a participant in any organization.

Real skills–Hard to measure things like honesty, perseverance, empathy, keeping promises, trust, charisma, curiosity, problem solving and humor.

The scientific method–understanding what we know and figuring out how to discover the next thing. Learning to do the reading and show your work. There’s no point in memorizing the Krebs Cycle.

Programming–thinking in ways that a computer can help you with. From Excel and Photoshop to C++.

Art–expressing yourself with passion and consistency and a point of view. Not because it’s your job, but because you can and because it matters. Appreciating the art that has come before and creating your own, in whatever form that takes.

Decision-making–using the rest of the skills above to make better choices.

Meta-cognition–thinking about thinking, creating habits with intention.

More stuff

Here’s my question: If you could work for someone who had these skills, developed over the course of a decade or more of public school, would you want to? What about working next to them, or having them work for you? Or dating them? Or living next door or voting for them?

If this is what we need and what we value, why aren’t we teaching it?

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Cyberpunk 2077

Kind of curious to see what this is like. I’ll be playing not on PS4, but PS5. Which should help with the apparently awful performance that the PS4 version suffers.

I’m still a little gutted this game is seemingly pretty poor. Because I was genuinely very excited about its release for a long time. However, hopefully it will improve over time with bug fixes, optimisations, and DLCs.

Maybe I’ll even hold off from playing it for a year in order to give the developers time to actually fix the game 🤔

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Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show explained. What can they film?

Amazon Chronicles (Tim Carmody) [c]:

In his lifetime, J.R.R. Tolkien published two works of fantasy set in a section of the planet Arda called Middle-Earth: The Hobbit and then its multi-volume sequel The Lord of the Rings. While there are hints of other lands and ages in The Hobbit, it’s really in The Lord of the Rings that it’s decisively revealed that these stories take place at the end of the Third Age of Arda…

Over his life, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and revised many stories about the First Age. These were collected and edited after his death by his son Christopher, and published in the books The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Beren and Luthien, The Children of Húrin, The Fall of Gondolin, and others. It’s a rich and full mythology, and a television studio could take years to tell those stories.

Amazon has the rights to none of them. The Tolkien estate didn’t sell those. (And Amazon doesn’t have the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings-era stories either.)

What the Tolkien estate sold was the rights to the Second Age, but reportedly not the parts of those stories told in the books primarily about the First Age (the Silmarillion, etc.) At the same time, Amazon cannot contradict those stories either. Amazon’s series will have to be consistent with the Tolkien canon, while at the same time drawing on the vaguest, least detailed portion of it: genealogies, a few outlines of stories, and not much more.

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‘The Mormon Church Amassed $100 Billion. It Was the Best-Kept Secret in the Investment World. ‘

The Wall Street Journal [c]:

[Ensign Peak’s (The Mormon Church’s investment division)] assets did total roughly $80 billion to $100 billion as of last year, some of the former employees said. That is at least double the size of Harvard University’s endowment and as large as the size of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the world’s largest tech-investment fund.

[…] Church officials acknowledged the size of the fund is a tightly held secret, which they said was because Ensign Peak depends on donations—known as tithing—from the church’s 16 million world-wide members.

[…] “We don’t know when the next 2008 is going to take place,”… “If something like that were to happen again, we won’t have to stop missionary work.”

During the last financial crisis, they didn’t touch the reserves Ensign Peak had amassed, church officials said. Instead, the church cut the budget.

[…] Whereas university endowments generally subsidize operating costs with investment income, Ensign Peak does the opposite. Annual donations from the church’s members more than covers the church’s budget. The surplus goes to Ensign Peak. Members of the religion must give 10% of their income each year to remain in good standing.

Dean Davies, another member of the ecclesiastical arm that oversees Ensign Peak, said the church doesn’t publicly share its assets because “these funds are sacred” and “we don’t flaunt them for public review and critique.”

Imagine being a Mormon. You’re not allowed to even drink coffee, and you’re required to give 10% of your income to the church. And then you find out your religion has an investment fund worth $100 billion. Although Mormonism has always been a joke of religion, so perhaps it’s fitting.

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‘UK truck driver shortage signals a broken labour market’

Financial Times [c]:

In 2010, the median HGV driver in the UK earned 51 per cent more per hour than the median supermarket cashier. By 2020, the premium was only 27 per cent. They have faced a particular pay squeeze in the past five years: median hourly pay for truck drivers has risen 10 per cent since 2015 to £11.80, compared with 16 per cent for all UK employees. “Why would I want to be a truck driver, with all the responsibility, the long, unpredictable hours, if I can go to Aldi and earn £11.30 an hour stacking shelves?” says Tomasz Oryński.

[…] As a result, the workforce is ageing. In 2000, there was an even split between over-45s and under-45s. Now the over-45s account for 62 per cent.

 

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Landlord Lloyds

The Guardian [c]:

It is already the UK’s largest mortgage lender, and now Lloyds Banking Group aims to become one of its biggest private landlords, with a target of buying 50,000 homes in the next 10 years.

Each year property prices seem to rise, wages seem to stagnate and now Britain moves closer and closer to modern feudalism. (Can you tell I’m trying to get on the property ladder right now?)

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