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Platform

January 1, 2007
Gunnison, CO

Today I launch the first article of my presidential campaign, the EducationF1rst Statement of Principle, which can be found on the education sub-page linked to the right.

As noted earlier, this campaign – our campaign – will build on a single, dominant principle: we have no problems that we cannot solve through education.

Over the coming days and weeks I will be posting my platform a section at a time. I invite your feedback and ideas, as I see this campaign as a collaborative process. The platform will be fluid and subject to revision as new wisdom emerges, and I encourage you to spread the word, inviting others you know into the process.

We won’t agree on every plank – that’s perhaps the only guarantee we have in this initiative. But if we pledge to work together in good faith, I feel certain that we will evolve a campaign that we can all commit to, because the sum of our shared interests will far outweigh our differences on tactical details.

Join with me as we work to shape the American agenda in ways that place the benefits to our culture, our nation and our children ahead of the self-serving, cynical interests that have ushered us to our current state.

Comments»

1. Chris Chapman - December 29, 2006

First and foremost, From the very beginning, we need to teach CRITICAL THINKING. I’m not talking about the formal class type of thing. I’m talking about the ability to solve problems without having to consult six overpaid professionals and their brothers on what “the” answer is. We need to be teaching our youth how to be more resourceful, use more of the out-of-the-box thinking that this country began with and became strong on.

That’s what I think, anyway.

2. drslammy - December 29, 2006

You’re going to really enjoy the “Curriculum” platform plank, I suspect.

3. Cat - December 29, 2006

Yes, critical thinking is important. Great skill. But CONTENT is also important. If we continue to emphasize skills at the expense of knowledge, we’ll keep going down the same path. We have to reverse the “knowledge is disposable” trend.

4. drslammy - December 29, 2006

I hope we don’t ever get to an either/or on this. The brain has to function as a hard drive, to be sure, but at the same time we live in a world where there’s a lot more to know and a lot of accessible external databases to find the bits of info. I guess I see the brain’s hard drive function as diminishing in importance over time and a corresponding need for its search engine and processing functions to grow.

How do you like my computer metaphor so far? 🙂

Of course, this is too easy an abstraction, because those bits have to be validated and understood, and the onboard memory needs significant data in order to make those processing calls.

At a minimum, it seems that students today know a lot less. Less than they used to. Less than they need to. Less than is healthy. It’s my expectation that a nation full of top-flight teachers will have a powerful impact on the deficits you’re talking about.

5. debby - December 31, 2006

Okay, I’ve read through the platform doc you sent me, and while I’m on board with the EdF1rst concept, I question your funding priorities. You want education funded first, before social programs and defense. What about social programs like free school lunches, welfare, and subsidized housing — the type of programs that provide families with the stability that allow their children to attend school regularly, get enough nutrition to start the day off properly, and so on? How are those prioritized?

6. drslammy - December 31, 2006

Well, file that under questions yet to be answered. It would be a huge mistake to assume that moving ed to the head of the list means that any program in particular is going to get axed, although there is a mathematical likelihood that something is going to suffer in the short term.

The way things are now, there are a few sacred cows – defense, for instance – that get to eat their fill before any other cows are allowed to come anywhere near the trough. The basic principle here is that education eats first. Period.

As the platform emerges over the next few weeks I think some of this will clear up, or at least it will become clearer what the points of debate are going to be. I don’t come into this process with any preconceived ideas about major spending programs that have to go (well, okay, there’s one place we’re going to spend a lot less money, and we’ll talk about that when we get to the section on Dubya’s Big Adventure), although I fully understand that we can’t expand at will in one area without decreasing spending in other areas.

7. angliss - December 31, 2006

You can certainly expand education funding without decreasing spending somewhere else – either deficit spend or raise taxes.

I’d actually strongly recommend a rather radical departure in your economic policy – come out for raising taxes AND cutting spending, as that’s the only way to get the deficit back under control. The deficit is as big a problem (or bigger) as inflation was in the 1970s, and it took pain and time to get inflation under control. It will take pain (increased taxes and lower spending) and time to get the deficit under control too.

Education is great as a first priority, but unless you plan to be a single issue candidate (and from the rough platform document you emailed me, that’s not your intent), you’ll need a economic plank too, and this is a pretty good one.

8. drslammy - January 1, 2007

If I’m going to talk about raising taxes, I’m going to talk about some tax reform strategies. And that gets complex in ways where I don’t have a lot of expertise. However, the thing to remember, whether we’re taxing more, spending more, whatever, is that we’re realigning our money so that we’re INVESTING. It seems like we spend now and it’s cash down a rathole, but if you’re spending on ed, you’re going to see a hell of a return in all sectors starting in about a decade.

The key here is having the patience to stick with the long-term vision.

9. The Very Rev. Thomas J. Shortell Esq. - January 1, 2007

I started writing this thinking I didn’t entirely agree with your main platform. Education can solve many if not most of your problems, but occassionally cultures simply clash too much, I thought. On further breakdown of my own thoughts made me think otherwise though.

Most of the world’s problem’s stem from differing priorities. Take our current escapade down shit creek for example. Our culture can tolerate religious extremes well enough, but some extremes won’t tolerate us. The US didn’t care one way or the other about the Middle East so long as our gas was cheap. The only reason we intervened in the First Gulf War was because Saudi Arabia and its precious oil was in danger. One 9/11 later, and you have a drastically different world.

Personally, the class that changed me the most was a world religions course. It granted me a window to glimpse into foreign cultures and see how and why things differed. I get the impression that we as a country either don’t know there are other cultures outside our own or simply don’t care. That mindset needs to change, and education can help that.

I haven’t seen an in depth platform of yours yet, but I do hope that education doesn’t end in college. The media needs to step up to further educate the populace so society can evolve on the fly. I’m still exasperated about the Spears/K-Fed divorce was the second biggest story election night.

10. drslammy - January 2, 2007

Well, the platform doesn’t yet specify lifelong learning programs, BUT… If you’re doing a good job K-BA, then those sorts of things will organizally emerge from a flowering culture of learning. Also, the platform WILL be addressing our media regulation policy, and we WILL be hauling the words “public interest” out of the closet.

Those two things taken together ought to get us pointed at a solution to our media/celebrity/bread/circuses problem….

11. Jennie - January 2, 2007

I am waiting with breathless anticipation for your take on the environment, and if it is too late to do anything at all about it. While I agree that education heals a variety of ailments, it heals them slowly and incrementally, and it battles with lots of other bright and shiny things masquerading as education as well. But there is zero point in educating a mass of people who have no planet to live on, and from my standpoint, helping the environment and slowing down theplanet’s demise is not going to respond to slow, incremental, gradual: we need radical, immediate, and decisive, and even then, I’m rooting for evolution to hurry its ass up and grow the future some gills and fins. Your take?

12. drslammy - January 2, 2007

And you neatly nail the problem on this one – what do you do when it’s already probably too late? I wish to hell I had that magic wand.

The platform will address the environment, although I doubt it will do so in ways that are any more encouraging than what any other practically minded folks are saying. I will say that on this issue I’m pretty darned green, and further, that I don’t see green as a left/right issue. For that matter, I do all I can to ignore the left/right silliness, since it’s mainly a neat way to keep the mainstream of America out of the power elite’s combover.

As I note, the platform will be rolling out a section at a time. I don’t have a hard schedule, but look for the environment in the next week or two….


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