Thursday, December 23, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

Everyone should watch this.

"Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. They are being besieged by information that calls their attention from every platform, computers, iPhones, advertising, and hundreds of television channels, and we are penalizing them now for getting distracted. From what? Boring stuff, at school."

One can argue that changing the education paradigm like this caters too much to kids and makes them lose resilience, but then again, they're already losing resilience when we've resorted to medicating them ("anesthetizing them") just to keep them from getting distracted. Obviously something needs to change.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Youth Center and Police State

UK Prime Minster David Cameron's "Big Society" is looking more like "Big Brother Society" every time we catch wind of one of these. Apparently, a youth can be investigated and even arrested by anti-terrorism forces for organizing a campaign to "save his youth center" on Facebook according to UK police.

A schoolboy trying to save his youth club was hauled from class after his plan to protest outside David Cameron's constituency office was spotted - by anti-terror police. In an astonishing over-reaction, 12-year-old Nicky Wishart was warned he faced arrest.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "The policeman asked me lots of questions about why we were having a protest and who would be there. "I said it was simply because we didn't want our youth centre to close - it's a fantastic place to go and there isn't much else for us to do round here."

He was told he would be responsible for any "trouble" at the well-mannered picket on Friday night. Public-spirited Nicky, one of the PM's constituents in the Oxfordshire seat of Witney, said: "All this is because Mr Cameron is our local MP and it's a bit embarrassing for him."'

Two words, free speech. If government were a more effective utility, then it doesn't need to spy on a kid's Facebook account to begin with.

"I was taken out of class - and the policeman said, 'Are you aware that the anti-terrorist squad are looking at your Facebook account?' He said that if anything got out of hand, they would arrest people. Then he said that I could get arrested for organising it. I was frightened and wished my mum was with me. Then the policeman asked, 'Does your mum know about this?' I said, 'Yes, of course, she supports it.' "But the policeman carried on, 'Are you sure your mum wants you out protesting at night?' He was trying to scare me off - but there was no way I wasn't going to go."

This last statement of his is very powerful. In a climate where we hear how young people and children are being brow-beaten into submission by the police state in order to learn why not to stick up too much against the system, we have the exact opposite happening from so many of them. Let's hope this trend continues, and we'll all have the brighter future the current leaders want to keep from us.

But, as part of the Con-Dem cuts, Tory-run Oxfordshire County Council is axing £4million of funding for 20 clubs - including the one in Nicky's home village, Eynsham. The council claims volunteers might take over as part of Mr Cameron's "Big Society".

The money going into paying police to spy on kids' Facebook accounts set up to "save their youth centers" could be going to fund those youth centers to begin with, but I suppose the government wins either way.