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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  January 2009

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE January 2009

Subject:

Re: Science and Education January 2009 issue of Science

From:

Larry Romsted <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 11 Jan 2009 14:58:51 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (281 lines)

Mart:

Yes, I copied the actual editorial.  I should have given the explicit
reference:  Science, 2009, Vol 323, January 2, p. 15.  Not hard to imagine
scientists (like Koshland, if it was him) proposing to fix social problems
by fixing peoples' chemistry.  For me meritocracies are a shame in a class
based society for keeping the social structure unchanged.

What I was thinking about what using Alberts' apparent sense of "rage"
(toward the bottom of the editorial) and his proposal to have a monthly
educational forum to propose radical analyses of the current state US
society and its education system.  Good idea?  I do not have much experience
at this type of analysis.

Larry 

On 1/11/09 11:26 AM, "mart" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> i am assuming that is actually the editorial---i guess so.  its excellent!!!
> (i guess a bush speech might be too, just never got through any of them.) (i
> think there was an editorial like this a long time ago, where Genetic
> engineering was promoted by Koshland as the solution to the problems of the
> poor, who actually only needed good genes to compete for equal opportunites
> that already exist outside the genome.  with the good genes, when you get shot
> in the back by oakland cops it dont matter, for example.).
> 
> to me science mag has to be read like the paper---you start with the ads, to
> see who it is serving.  just as USA has the 'national symphony' and NPR, etc
> to show why all the other stuff is required, science also has some ideas and
> discussion---the fun part.
> 
> the big question is to what extent the 'meritocracy' has any objective
> definition  (how many anecdotal pseudo results based on data mining are
> published in science, compared with the number of good ideas which aren't
> (there or anywehre) along with scientific and associated advertizing careers
> jettisoned because proctor and gamble didn't find them to be part of the
> profitable, selectively advantageous paradigm? (Talk of the Nation/science
> friday just had a show on type 2 diabetes 'cures' based on some new drug
> things, without mentioning that diet apparently is often quite effective
> (except at increasing consumer buying of diavbetes drugs).  like Science, TON
> Sci Fri tends towards shilling.
>    i actually think the DNA science is ok, but way overhyped, partly because
> people can get greedy like Veneter, and marketing is half the deal nowadays.
> the idea of calling a mag 'science' however whose technical stuff  is 80%
> molec biol seems 'biased'; what is in there that isnt molec biology seems
> often the trend of the week. )
> 
> and, when one says 'selected' does this mean deciding among the 'flock' which
> aminals will be used as breeding stock as opposed to be slaughtered for food?
> (one can glance at animal biology to see how 'meritocracies' can be created in
> this way, or caste systems.)   one can also always taker the view that the
> best way to create a meritocracy would be, rather than nurture some, simply
> turn most of society into what they had in the land of the iks, in africa, one
> of total degradation, so some can be like the 'more better man'.
> 
> 
> --- On Sat, 1/10/09, Larry Romsted <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> From: Larry Romsted <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Science and Education January 2009 issue of Science
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Date: Saturday, January 10, 2009, 3:33 PM
>> All:
>> 
>> Below is an editorial by Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of
>> Science Magazine.
>> I am disturbed, but not surprised by the points juxtaposed
>> in the first two
>> sentences.   (See First and Second in red below.)  The
>> second one in
>> particular, given all the articles included, strikes me as
>> lip service and
>> borders on hypocrisy because neither the editor or any of
>> the articles are
>> set in the social-political context of the current school
>> system.  I have
>> looked through the articles, but not read them all.  They
>> are about using
>> technology to improve teaching and education, but they are
>> not about using
>> technology to really empower people.  They do not discuss
>> using technology
>> to teach people about relationships between race and
>> education, between
>> income and education, or about providing low income and
>> inner city people
>> and their children the resources they need to empower
>> themselves.  How could
>> modern technology be use to build unions, for example?
>> Interestingly, lots
>> of pictures of people accompanying the articles, not one
>> picture of an
>> African-American or African. (Nothing about Africa.)
>> Mostly whites and some
>> Asians. (Few black people read Science anyway, why worry.)
>> You would not
>> know there are social classes in the US from reading the
>> articles.
>> 
>> I think these articles are basically about developing
>> technology to create
>> an elite group of people to run society and another
>> specially trained set to
>> fight its battles.  One article on how the DOD has made
>> contributions to the
>> use of computers in training (see p. 72. ³Education and
>> Training Technology
>> in the Military.²)
>> 
>> I quote several sentences from the third paragraph of that
>> article.  The
>> sentences are one of the most antiseptic descriptions of
>> the military I have
>> ever read:  ³For military organizations, both education
>> and training are
>> means to an end.  Efficiency (time and resources expended)
>> and effectiveness
>> (Production of human competence) are critical.  Military
>> organizations have
>> historically turned to technology to maximize the
>> efficiency and
>> effectiveness of all their activities, training and
>> education included.²
>> 
>> Fits Hamas or the Iraqi insurgency perfectly‹not!
>> 
>> I think this issue of Science requires a radical (meaning
>> root cause, of
>> course) response.  There is an opening in the editorial for
>> a such a
>> contribution: ³Thus, we will be publishing important work
>> in education as
>> Perspectives, Policy Forums, Reviews, or as original
>> Research Reports and
>> Articles, while continuing to cover education in the News
>> section.²
>> 
>> I am not well equipped to do this (a chemist after all).
>> Nevertheless, I
>> would be interesting in contributing.  Good idea?
>> 
>> Larry
>> 
>> www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 323 2 JANUARY 2009 15
>> CREDITS (TOP TO BOTTOM): TOM KOCHEL; JUPITERIMAGES
>> 
>> EDITORIAL
>> Making a Science of Education
>> 
>> First.  FOR SUCCESS IN AN INCREASINGLY COMPLEX, CROWDED,
>> AND DANGEROUS
>> WORLD, A NATION must strive to be a meritocracy: Its
>> education and social
>> systems should be structured to select those with the most
>> talent, energy,
>> wisdom, and character as the next generation of leaders for
>> each segment of
>> society.   Second.  When I was young, I was taught that
>> providing equal
>> opportunities for
>> everyone was a matter of social justice‹part of the
>> social contract in the
>> United States. Now, I believe that it is also a matter of
>> national survival.
>> Any country that fails to encourage and develop the talent
>> in each
>> individual through its public school system will suffer
>> greatly, because the
>> quality of a nation depends on the collective wisdom of
>> both its leaders and
>> its citizens.  An outstanding education system imparts
>> values that support
>> good citizenship, while empowering adults to be life-long
>> learners and
>> problem solvers who can make wise decisions for their
>> families, for their
>> communities, and for their workplaces. Such an education
>> system must
>> continually evolve to remain relevant to the interests and
>> needs of each new
>> generation. To achieve these ambitious goals, we will need
>> much more
>> emphasis on both science education and the ³science of
>> education.² It is my
>> hope that Science can help to promote progress on both
>> scores.
>> 
>>      In 2006, Science began a monthly Education Forum. We
>> now plan to build
>> on this strong beginning by recruiting high-quality
>> articles
>> on education from the world¹s best experts for every
>> section of the
>> magazine. Thus, we will be publishing important work in
>> education
>> as Perspectives, Policy Forums, Reviews, or as original
>> Research Reports and
>> Articles, while continuing to cover education in the
>> News section. This first issue of 2009, with its focus on
>> Education and
>> Technology (see page 53), represents a start that will
>> hopefully
>> inspire many more articles to come.
>> 
>> As this special issue explains, the computer and
>> communication technologies
>> that have profoundly altered many other aspects of our
>> lives seem to hold
>> great promise for improving education as well. But
>> technology is only a
>> tool. To fulfill its promise for education will require a
>> great deal of
>> high-quality research, focused on its utilization and
>> effects in both school
>> and nonschool settings. Only by collecting and analyzing
>> data on student
>> learning can we hope to sort out the many variables that
>> determine
>> effectiveness.
>> 
>>      The same type of scientific research is also needed to
>> explore,
>> analyze, and improve each of the many other components of
>> educational
>> systems. For example, the most important element of any
>> education system is
>> a highly skilled teacher. Teacher recruitment, preparation,
>> retention, and
>> professional development all need to be informed by
>> scientific research in
>> education.  Curricula, pedagogy, assessment, and school
>> system management
>> similarly require focused research. We hope that what
>> scientists are
>> learning about each of these important aspects of education
>> will be reported
>> and reviewed in Science.
>> 
>>      Research in the social sciences is especially
>> challenging because of
>> the conditionality of its findings: The effects of an
>> intervention are
>> likely to depend on many variables that need to be studied
>> and understood.
>> Some readers may therefore question whether the science of
>> education
>> deserves a prominent place in this prestigious journal. For
>> them, I offer
>> the wisdom of Alfred North Whitehead, who wrote 80 years
>> ago: ³The art of
>> education is never easy. To surmount its difficulties,
>> especially those of
>> elementary education, is a task worthy of the highest
>> genius.² [But] ³when
>> one considersŠthe importance of this question of the
>> education of a nation¹s
>> young, the broken lives, the defeated hopes, the national
>> failures, which
>> result from the frivolous inertia with which it is treated,
>> it is difficult
>> to restrain within oneself a savage rage. In the conditions
>> of modern life
>> the rule is absolute, [a country] that does not value
>> trained intelligence
>> is doomed.²
>> 
>>     The sense of rage is every bit as appropriate today.
>> But we now
>> recognize that we must look at the ³art² of education
>> through the critical
>> lens of science if we are to survive.
>> 
>> ­Bruce Alberts
>> 10.1126/science.1169941
>> Bruce Alberts is the Editor-in-Chief of Science.
>> Published by AAAS
>> Downloaded from www.sciencemag.org on January 10, 2009
> 
> 
> 

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