Yes indeed. Choice is an important factor... For everyone.
> From: Vincent Rossano <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 20:51:26 -0500
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Productivity. (was: throw another distraction log on the IT pyre)
>>>> On 2/2/2008 at 4:10 PM, Ray Ballou <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> b/c a Horse and Buggy lifestyle is not going to get us through the next
>> century. And even if it would, China and India care about productivity, so
>> we should too.
> Who's talking about a "Horse and Buggy lifestyle"? Do you believe that
> reduced productivity necessarily equals 19th century living conditions? I'm
> not sure about that. But it may well mean making do with a less than we have
> now. (Just don't take away my broadband connection! :-) )
> Now, if you wanna talk "China and India", you'd better take a look at their
> education systems. They are beating the pants off us in science and math, yet
> I'd guess they don't have one-tenth of the computers in the classrooms that we
> do. In fact, in China, they even have *computer* classes without computers.
> And I doubt that many of their schools have anyone called a "technology
> integrationist". Maybe this entire listserv is irrelevant in terms of
> productivity in education.
> No, it's not. We do education differently in the U.S. And, personally, I
> like the way we do it better. But, if we define "better" in terms of
> increased productivity, we need to make some changes fast. More "drill and
> kill" and less personal fulfillment. Forget about a research paper on your
> favorite baseball team. Forget about a research paper on anything. Get your
> butt into calculus class. And if you can't hack calculus, get your butt out
> into the workplace and be "productive".
> Neither you nor I want to be part of such a hard-nosed education system, but
> if we're using productivity as our standard, maybe we need to do that.
> When I was in 6th grade, the Russians launched Sputnik and the United States
> freaked out. The Soviets were "beating" us! There were all sorts of dire
> predictions about the end of civilization as we knew it if we didn't put a
> science lab in every school - as soon as we cleared the halls from the "duck
> and cover" drills. Changes were frantically made in curriculum - which
> probably was called for- and perhaps the renewed focus on science really was
> important. But we never ever got as rigorous about it as the Soviets. Then,
> several decades later, the Soviet Union self-destructed. (This is not to say
> the former Soviet Union isn't, today, a major player in geopolitics - and a
> big worry.)
> I just can't get worked up into a sweat about China and India "beating" us.
> Anyway, there may not be much we can do about it - increased productivity or
> not. China already holds far more of our national debt than any other foreign
> country. All they need to do is call in that debt and we're screwed. (Of
> course, they'd be screwed too, but that's another story.) It just may be that
> the 20th century will prove to be the first and last where the United States
> is THE world-dominant power. And, as far as I'm concerned, that isn't
> necessarily a bad thing.
> On a personal note: in 1969, I was working for a wine importing company in New
> York City. I had just gotten a nice promotion when I announced I was moving
> to Vermont. People were astounded. ("Vermont? Where is that? Someplace
> upstate?") My boss tried to get me to change my mind by warning me about the
> difficulty of returning to a "horse and buggy lifestyle". (Really, he did say
> something like that.) He clearly didn't know much about Vermont, but he
> warned me that there'd be low salaries and no shopping malls. My family, also
> horrified, said pretty much the same thing.
> I moved to Vermont and, sure enough, there were low salaries and no shopping
> malls. Now we've got shopping malls (damn!), but we still have low salaries.
> Among my cousins (who all stayed in New York or moved to other major urban
> centers), I'm the only one not earning over $150k a year. (I - like you - am
> not earning half of that.) And I don't regret it for a minute.
> Must be something besides productivity that makes life worth living. :-)