RMT Sunday: Technocratic education design?!

RMT (Riddle Me This) Sunday for 9/21/14.  Have you heard of the “Technocratic Party”? What does this have to do with Common Core?No, I’m not making fun of the political landscape or any upcoming elections. It directly involves STEM, the part of CCSS, those in charge want you to think are separate (see my post about PCAST, CCSS & STEM). Back to the Techie Party,  here, from their website are the basic principles of their Party (http://www.technocraticparty.us/about):

1) Technocrat is driven to utilize technology – invented or otherwise – into a domestic and a foreign policy.

2) Technocrat’s mission is to improve our nation with: prosperity, abundance, liberty and security.

3) Technocrat continuously pursues a better vision for our nation and humanity. 

How this looks for the regular student/citizen? More federal education involvement! More initiatives, administrations, and programs to increase productivity while supplying lots of high paying jobs. Of course to make this palatable: government incentives, tax payer breaks..all when data indicates it. Oh yes, to appeal to your national sense of pride, a line or two about patriotic duty is supplied. Check out this quote:

“The government should challenge a nation with a vision of a better future and superior lifestyle. A government that is better able to project such a vision to its nation will inspire its citizens to be more and do more, while ensuring businesses that it is there for them to succeed. A government that is able to inspire the minds of its citizens and the people of the world will be able to solve any problem and be the leader of its people.”

So, just what is, or who is a “Technocrat”?

The group has had a Twitter account since 2009, where you will see the following: “Technocrats are the oracles for prosperity, aspiration and liberty.” Their Facebook page has many technological posts, and this one very interesting You Tube link featuring their Treasurer who is also running as an Independent candidate in the NY Gubernatorial 2014 race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0-vzaT_sIk The speaker tells you that the modern TP isn’t the same as the 1930s movement by the same name, he’ll tell you they are liberal capitalists who seek innovation and prosperity. To get all this innovation & prosperity, heavy reliance on government and P3s (public,private partnerships) is needed. He also shared on the video that we must be willing to self sacrifice for the nation’s greater good. Basically (and eerily close to the 1930s definition), the entire party is a part of social engineering. Most of the current members, while extremely small in group size, are scientists and engineers.

So, what about STEM, Common Core?

According to the Technocrat’s blog, it was reported that the known CCSS biased Brookings Institute shared
(http://blogs.rollcall.com/technocrat/relative-shortage-of-stem-workers-report-says/?dcz=) STEM workers are in a supply/demand crunch. Here’s an excerpt: “These results suggest that the supply-demand imbalances at the middle education levels are very different for those with STEM skills than those without,” the report states. “At these education levels, those with STEM skills are at a distinct advantage over their non-STEM counterparts.”” (be sure you read the comments readers left). The Brookings study ended with this quote, “Improving educational and training opportunities to acquire STEM knowledge should be part of any strategy to help unemployed or low-wage workers improve their earnings and employability.”  (see: http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2014/job-vacancies-and-stem-skills#/M10420)

Even the U.S. Government’s Census from 2012 is keeping tabs on STEM workers (see the graphic below, click on it to enlarge):

http://www.census.gov/people/io/publications/table_packages.html

U.S. Census data on 2012 STEM workers
U.S. Census data on 2012 STEM workers

The STEM Atlantic Conference, 9/11/14 (http://www.theatlantic.com/live/events/technologies-in-education/2014/)

The main goals: online learning, educational games (ie: data mining, assessments). A key speaker, John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House was introduced not only as a smart guy, but one who helps direct policy. Just in the first few minutes you’ll hear how Mr. Holdren shares what the President of the US wanted & how Holdren, the rest of the Cabinet were instructed that ‘all hands on deck’ were needed for STEM education. As far back as 2009’s Educate/Innovate the goal has been to change education. Arne Duncan has also been key in these conversations. The 3 prong goals: train champions, train workforce and have science savvy citizens capable of all the technology.  (I need to stop and ask you a riddle, does ANY of this sound like what the Technocratic treasurer was describing?) Also involved in this Conference were  AT&T, the Atlantic Magazine, Amplify, Game Desk, Globaloria, and many others. The link above gives you plenty of contact information. Be sure to look at the bottom of the page to see the past STEM/Atlantic conferences.

Digging a bit farther back, I found this. The Atlantic is owned by David Bradley, editor in chief James Bennet. Bradley appears to be very supportive of Common Core. In fact, Bill Gates was featured here where he discusses CCSS among other things.  http://www.theatlantic.com/live/events/atlantic-exchange-2014/2014/ (video is from 03/14)

The Atlantic Media owner is a favorite featured guest of the Aspen Institute (which has invested over $3 million in Common Core). Aspen, another group pushing Common Core. Aspen also is a big pusher for technology in the classroom. Just this past week, 9/16/14, the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Deputy Secretary, Jim Shelton,  was the featured speaker. (See, http://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/blog/impact-of-technology-in-the-classroom-q-and-a-with-jim-shelton) The main point to consider, the Federal Communications Commission’s recent $2 billion to advance student’s access to technology in schools. He also shared that technology offers leverage to the teachers/principals over students. He also shared that technology means learning doesn’t have to stop at the ring of a bell.

Related:

Bloomberg: connecting Technocrats, Gates, CCSS and STEM?

The Technocrat?“To him, good process, and by extension, good government, means relying heavily on “data” and science to determine direction…..and he (Bloomberg) is injecting money ($452 million via Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2013 alone), not to mention vitality and operational strength into a policy organization that will, presumably, last longer than he will and whose main purpose appears to be the export of Bloomberg’s technocratic, aspirationally nonideological ideal.” See: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/magazine/2014/07/8548081/great-technocrat

Common Core: He defends here: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2013/11/8536490/bloomberg-common-core-life-full-tests

He invested in CCSS via inBloom (click on image to enlarge): 

Bloomberg's investment in CCSS, inBloom
Bloomberg’s investment in CCSS, inBloom

I wasn’t able to find any definitive connection to Bloomberg and STEM, but given his love of data, I can’t imagine he’s not involved somehow.

What does all this mean?

Between all the small groups, big investors and whacked out ideals, all this means, we the citizens of America, need to be alert, diligent, and continue our research into those supportive any movement supporting bigger government..especially when it comes to education!

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