Wednesday, December 9, 2009

* The Wind-up Aladden's Lamp of Knowledge

News' View: Great expectations, unfulfilled

Rachel Plattus could have been a great advocate for Yale and New Haven. Instead, as her term expires, she leaves an empty legacy.
By The Yale Daily News
Published Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shortly after Rachel Plattus ’09 announced her candidacy to represent Ward 1 on the Board of Aldermen, she held a meeting in Jonathan Edwards College for those interested in discussing ideas to improve the city’s public schools. At the event, which was attended by more than 50 students, Plattus said she hoped New Haven could offer pre-kindergarten schooling to all its children and said she would work to create an Elm City Family Center, a kind of shelter for adolescent girls and a resource for families in need.
These were both good ideas that would have made New Haven a better city...

Education Revolution: Give every deserving person the Wind-up Aladden's Lamp of Knowledge

I don't want to tell Alderperson Plattus what to do. It's rude. But I was born in New Haven, my grandmother lived in a ghetto apartment with no hot water two blocks from the palaces of Yale, and when I went to Yale Divinity School I was an apartment superintendent in a low income housing complex which had its share of poverty, drugs and violence. I myself was mugged in the parking lot of St. Thomas Moore Church at night.

In other words. I ain't naive.

And there's one thing I know for sure : The Alderpersons can fiddle with education from now till doomsday and it won't change a thing. What WILL change something is GIVING THE INSTRUMENTS OF POWER TO THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE THEM.

Why not give every low income kid (indeed every low income person) in New Haven, a $100 Negroponte wind-up computer once a year and teach them how to use it. If they lose it or sell it during that year, they are out of the loop. No new computer till next year.

Children --indeed all humans---are born with cerebral softwear that says LEARN, LEARN, LEARN.

I couldn't stop a child from learning if I TRIED.

The only thing I can do is discourage, demoralize and disenfranchise the kid along the way with an elitist testing obstacle course which says: X kid is smart and Y kid is not smart.
(BTW: Do we say a Daisy is smart and a Rose is not because they bloom at different times and in different soil? Then WHY do we say that about children?)

EVEN THEN, no one can't STOP a kid from learning. The kid will learn whatever interests him/her and at her/his own pace.

AND GUESS WHAT: There is a portable WORLD INTEREST MACHINE called a wind-up laptop computer available for a hundred bucks ($100) which could develop, facilitate, accelerate, enhance, multiply, synergize and solidify that built in cerebral learning softwear every kid is born with.

For God's sake take some of the taxpayers' money and give the kids those machines.

How hard is that?

And if the New Haven bureaucrats are too fat-headed to hear the idea, go to the GATES Foundation and propose a pilot program in New Haven. I think you can apply on-line. (OOPS! Sounds like I'm giving the Alderperson advice!)

Where there's a will there's a way.

I "learned" that, all by myself-----without any fancy curriculum tinkering by adults.

I know: There are a million reasons bureaucrats will say
this can't be done. (Would we have to wi-fi New Haven?) Blah, blah, blah.................

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