I sit in another—yes, yet another—meeting about how to get “diverse” kids into STEM.  A meeting in a rich room in a rich university in a rich town.  If poor kids just get into STEM they will be able to get a “good” job—and, you know, we really need more scientists and programmers.  None of this is true, of course.

Let’s “hook” the kids with a CSI type game because you know how so many kids wanted to become forensic scientists because they watched CSI.  Did they become scientists?  No.

We keep talking about how we can “hook” kids with modern media to get them to stay in school, go to college, and get a good job.  Yet a great many kids today with even good college degrees cannot get good jobs or any job.  40% are in jobs that do not require a college degree in any real sense.

We keep talking about how to get poor kids into STEM in a society that appears actually to despise science and evidence and regularly ignores both.  In a country that has a record level of inequality, emerging third-world conditions, and lower levels of social mobility than almost all the European countries.  The truth is that most kids—not just poor ones, not just minority ones—are in danger of being dupes and victims of the elites and of our current global casino capitalism and witnesses to the death of our land and seas, as well.

I keep thinking about what motivated people like Richard Wright at a time when they faced a violent blockade of their rights to citizenship, social participation, and human dignity.  Richard Wright wasn’t motivated by CSI or media.  He wasn’t motivated just by wanting a “good” job.  He was motivated by anger and hope.  He walked into a library and read books elites did not want him to read in order to fashion himself as an intellectually revolutionary innovator who WOULD NOT be duped.  People who read Native Son often feared Richard Wright.  I want to fuel kids’ anger and hope to make them people whom the elites, the dupers, the casino capitalists, and their pet politicians will fear.  Fear, deep fear, not of violence, but of words, votes, demands, and loudly shouted “No, no more; I count and I will demand that I count whether you like it or not”.

The motivator is not the book or the media.  It is a fire in the belly and the soul that leads one to what Cristobal Martinez calls—not STEM—but “techno sovereignty”.   Richard Wright made himself “literacy sovereign”, no one’s dupe.  With modern media of all sorts we can hope and help kids to get techno sovereignty.  Not to be scientists or programmers, but to save the world and themselves.   What about just one meeting about how to build fires in bellies and souls, fires that will spread?


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March 29th, 2018

The Interpreter System (7)

Let’s return to our diagram of a human being (or, “an enviro-human system”).  I want now to look just at […]

March 27th, 2018

Joint Actor Systems (6)

The diagram I used in the last post is misleading in that it makes things look more contained and bounded […]

March 26th, 2018

A Human Being (5)

Last time, we raised the question: “What is ‘Jim”?” (substitute your own name for “Jim” here).  We think of ourselves […]

March 25th, 2018

Jim and Identities/Discourses (4)

When we make a choice, who is making the choice?  We have already seen that there are lots of things […]

March 10th, 2018

Alternates (3)

When we make a choice about ourselves often that choice is vastly undetermined by the information we have available.  Say […]

March 7th, 2018

Flourishing (2)

It makes little sense to see a human being (or any other animal) as an individual making free choices.  In […]

February 25th, 2018

Free Will (1)

Note that the question of free will simply does not arise for animals.  We think that, even for intelligent species, […]

October 29th, 2017

The Principle of Charity

October 8th, 2017

Character Education

Recently, the College of Education at Arizona State University—where I work— received funding from the Kern Family Foundation to make […]

June 15th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 6 (The End)

What killed people’s sense of mattering was the growth of very high levels of inequality.  What caused such high levels […]

June 14th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 5

Many of us tend to think of history as a march forward and upward. So, we tend to interpret the […]

June 14th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 4

The Catholic Church declined in three stages. The same was true for many other institutions.  “The Sixties” (roughly from 1963 […]

June 12th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 3

Today, we have among the highest levels of inequality we have ever had.  Drug addiction, environmental degradation, flows of climate […]

June 11th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 2

The British economist John Maynard Keynes and “Keynesian Economics” were foundational to the Bretton Woods Agreement and to the world […]

June 10th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 1

Though neo-liberalism is the “usual suspect” for the miseries of our institutions and society, it is not nearly as relevant […]

May 30th, 2017

Main Points from My New Book

Teaching, Learning, Literary in our High-Risk, High-Tech World: A Framework for Becoming Human (Teachers College Press, 2017). Ignorance We humans […]

April 17th, 2017

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 10 The End

Neither love nor liking is necessary for the sorts of critical discussions among different frameworks that might lead to shared […]

April 15th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 9 Interpretation

Goodwill.  What could possibly encourage people in a fractured and inequitable world to have goodwill?  I, for one, do not […]

April 14th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 8 An Example

I want now to give an example of two different frameworks that certainly appear incommensurable.  My purpose here is make […]

April 12th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 7 Discussion

We are at a critical juncture now in our attempt to understand why frameworks can cause us humans such grief.  […]